We have always been attracted by the atmosphere that reigns between the period furnishings and the precious architecture of historic houses. Palaces, castles and noble villas are among our favorite destinations to experience the emotion of a lifestyle in which the memories of the past represent the lifeblood of the present.
Among the memories of the past
Many aristocratic families have become entrepreneurs, exploiting their properties, opening their homes and offering exclusive and special hospitality. Of this different way of traveling that opens the door of a building or a villa, but also a window on the private life and the history of families at the center of many events over the centuries, one of the first supporters was the Marchesa Dorothy Volpe, who in 1999 opened her Dimora del Prete di Belmonte hospitality in the heart of the town of Venafro in Molise.
Spending a few days in this house is to look at the territory from a privileged observatory where you can peek over the walls of the courtyards and the lush gardens, towards landscapes that are waiting to be discovered.
Making it in three, four-legged and all fours, on our first trip with Otto, was even more exciting. Otto was up to the situation and to the place, being pampered by everyone, including the Marchesa.
Among the ancient walls of the house, restored in neoclassical style in 1860 but dating back to earlier times, you are dazzled by intensity and beauty and about the route between frescoed rooms and halls, illuminated by large windows and covered with precious silks, will bring with you the memory of something very special.
The seven rooms reserved for guests, with period furniture and all the comforts, air conditioning and heating, are on the upper floors and are connected by a spectacular marble staircase on the ground floor, where the old carriage room has been transformed into a collection of environment for conferences and conventions.
On the top floor a small apartment with living room and terrace overlooking the ancient rooftops of the historic center, the mountains and the Volturno plain.
At ceremonies and parties, however, are reserved boardrooms, from the hall in dark red damask walls covered in silk produced in the Real Factory of San Leucio and golden furniture to the corridor frescoed as a winter garden in which to get lost in romantic walks.
The hospitality is taken care of directly by the landlady assisted by Mrs. Maria, who takes care of the home even when the Marchesa is engaged in one of her passions, including the travels and the theater.
Despite the elegance and the sumptuousness of the rooms of this building that aligns with one of the principal roads of the ancient Roman city, we live “in the family”: soft lights everywhere illuminate photographs, furnishings, rugs, curtains, ceramics, prints and vintage paintings.
Our room, with an amazing double view of the Matese mountains that protect Venafro on one side and on the plain on the other, is the most romantic, with a four-poster bed, fireplace, nineteenth-century desk and wardrobe.
In the morning breakfast is served in the hall with a Pompeian style, in which an ancient piano and a table from the 1600s made from a press for pressing grapes are displayed.
Around a table set with refinement we appreciated local products, cakes and homemade jams: at our feet Otto waited patiently for his turn and was happy to share with us a few cloves of mandarin, which he enjoys very much, collected directly in the enchanting garden with centennial plants.
In the summer it is also used the panoramic terrace overlooking the roofs and the domes of the village and on the olive trees decanted by Orazio, Plinio, Varrone and Marziale.
In addition to making available to them many of the palace’s fifty rooms, the Marchesa Dorothy Volpe organizes dinners on reservation and cooking classes on request, as well as visits to the winery with tasting to discover special wines produced from native Molise grapes, in white art workshops to watch the processing of buffalo mozzarella and even in a local chocolate factory, with mandatory tastings, of course!