When we leave the Langhe we will stop in Tuscany for a night to break the drive and we have the pleasure of staying at Villa Campestri in Vicchio di Mugello.
We stopped in at the town on Scarperia on our way to the Villa Campestri. The castle is covered in plagues and we will have to come back as it was a Sunday and all was closed.
Villa Campestri is located in the hills of the Mugello area of Tuscany. It is a Renaissance Villa, the oldest part dating to the 13th century. It was originally owned by the noble Roti Michelozzi, whose family held the Villa for some 700 years. In 1989 it was sold and Paolo Pasquali and his daughters Viola and Gemma operated the Villa. It was an exceptional place to stay.
We had a room with a private patio, and there were flowers and a bottle of Prosecco waiting for us. Now that is the way to start the stay!
The Mugello region of Tuscan has great colour and vegetation. It is not as dry as other ares of Tuscany because of the mountains.
We next drove to the the Castello della Castelluccia located just north of Rome. The Castello has been home of noble Italian families for some seven centuries. Originally built between the 12th and 13th Centuries, it has passed from family to family.
We used this as an opportunity to return and visit Villa Hadrian. Roman Emperor Hadrian had the vast complex built in the 2nd Century. He liked the Villa so much, that during the end of his reign he governed the Roman Empire from here.
During the 16th Century Cardinal Ippolito Is d'Este had a significant amount of the marble taken from here to be used in his own villa, the Villa D'Este located not far from here.
There were over 30 buildings are part of the complex. Pictured above is what is called the Maritime Theatre which was a round pound and portico. At the time, the small island that sits surrounded by water was connected with drawbridges. On the island was a small house which was used by the Emperor as a retreat.
The Canopus was build to replicate a city in Alexandria. Greek statues surround the pool.
We left Hadrian's Villa and because of a thunderstorm that moved in has to give up the plan to visit the Villa d'Este. We drove to the town of Frascati. Here, despite it being Sunday, people were out sitting around the piazza's enjoying the day.
Frascati was much larger and grander than we had anticipated and will be worth a second visit.
When we arrive back in Rome we stayed at the Albergo Ottocento and we were looking forward to visiting this hotel. It was not the experience we thought it would be.
The hotel is nicely appointed, however there were somethings about the hotel that did not ring right with us. For example, shutting off the air conditioning as they thought it was not needed. This meant keeping the windows shut to keep out the noise and having a stuffy room. Our advice is let the guests determine if they need air conditioning or not! We were looking forward to eating on their roof-top restaurant. Having the hotel's staff to stand on the corner and attempt to convince people to come to the restaurant the is a red-flag in our mind to select another location.
For lunch, however, we had a great meal. We at at the Entoeca Corsi, on via del Gesù - this is a few streets off the via Del Corso, not far from Novelli Pen, and just a couple of streets down from the Pantheon (picture to right). Great meal and ambiance. It sits right up there as a Great Place To Eat on our Great Places to Stay site. It is only open for lunch so plan your time accordingly. There are three rooms to this family run restaurant. It is noted in all the major tour resources. This is the real roman meal experience, and best of all, it is not expensive.
Rather than eat at our hotel, we decided to walk over to the Hotel Eden, a few blocks away. A ritzy hotel, but rather than have dinner, we opted to go to the roof-top terrace and just have drinks. I was ready to pay, and I did -- $54 CDN for two gin and tonic is really not that bad considering it was the Eden! Everyone was dressed to the hilt. Women in cocktail dresses, men is jackets. Well, mentally we were just in that space. But we did enjoy our drinks and then walked back to the hotel. After all, it was back to Canada the next morning. Interestingly enough, when we looked up the hotel on the iPad to see how much it would have been to actually stay there, we were surprised to see that a superior room goes for about 445 Euros (623 CDN) and they actually up front so that if you want Internet Access it is available, for a fee. You would think at $600 a night, a fee for internet access, which many of the more moderate priced hotels offer for free, would be gratis!