Remember the movie “The Chronicles of Narnia” when playing hide and seek four little brothers hide in a closet that is magical because it leads to an enchanted land called Narnia? Well that’s what happened to us in Tursi at the fabulous world of Martine Greslon in her The Orangery Retreat.
The fabulous world of Martine
But instead of the magic wardrobe there is a turquoise door that leads into a room perfectly furnished with cheerful colored furniture, table and chairs, armchairs, a wrought iron bed and even a fireplace … but without a roof!
Twelve years ago Martine fell in love at first sight of Tursi, of the ancient district of the Rabatana and of its unusual and fascinating light game that offers every evening. During the few minutes that follow the sunset, the walls of the houses, built in local stone and brick, are adorned with a variegated chiaroscuro.
And it is nice to enjoy this show from the wide open windows on the village of the house that Martine wanted to call The Orangery Retreat as a tribute to the production of oranges in the area. “As soon as I saw this place, I fell in love with it! It was not in optimal conditions but I believed it “. And he still believes it, as soon as the two already existing will add another little house.
Now The Mandarin and The Bergamot are the apartments available to guests in this house that respects the simplicity and authenticity of the true Basilicata, that of passion and traditions, that sung by the poet Albino Pierro, native to Tursi.
Together with Otto we were guests of the first, which is accessed by the turquoise door that leads into the room without a roof and a fountain that seems to sing at every hour of which we have already spoken.
The apartment is on two levels and the bed and bedside tables are on the mezzanine. The glass door opens onto a large living room with a fully equipped kitchenette: in addition to stove, fridge and washing machine there is also a dishwasher.
While the living area, composed of a sommier that becomes a third bed on the occasion, and two vintage armchairs, develops in an original but harmonious fashion, next to an antique bathtub. And in the morning the breakfast is based on bread, that delicious local, butter and apricot jam made by Martine.
Outside, imperfect walls and a bit ‘peeling from the bohemian charm and a porch with red brick arches. Inside, atmospheres muffled and timeless where the imprint of the landlady is everywhere. From the floors, which has replaced with colored cement, to the doors all of recovery, the choice of dusty shades and muted tones to the ease with which objects and furniture are combined.
Here, the houses cling to the rock, as if to seek shelter from the wind, and the atmosphere is intact, steady in time. And it is above all this that has captured Martine who, before finally stopping at Tursi, has traveled the world between California, South Africa and France, starting from Northampton, a town in the heart of England.
French father and English mother, she worked in the wine world and then approached that of healthy eating by attending high quality restaurants.
And becoming herself an excellent cook as we could personally see for dinner in her small but comfortable house, seated at a refined table in front of a pleasantly lit fireplace to soften the early autumn humidity and spied on by a curious big dog facing the door.
The evening between talk and local fish, which Martine herself bought in the morning at the nearby Ionian coast and elaborated in dishes with exquisite international taste, was very pleasant: the hostess’s hospitality was delicious but thank goodness for going to bed a few steps are necessary because the wine glasses, combined with each course, have been so many! The promise is to taste her soon some local production from Puglia.
In the morning we said goodbye thinking of wanting to return soon but with a more forgiving climate that can allow us to sleep in that big bed in the room without a roof but with the window with wooden frames and the windows overlooking the valley and the light sound of the fountain like a lullaby. And leaving we have thoroughly understood the choice of Martine: she is right, the real luxury is that of simplicity!