Queen of the Castle at Castello Brandolini
Cison di Valmarino Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
May 23rd, 2006 – by: hannajax
Our two night stay at Castle Brandolini was to be the most exciting and relaxing part of our adventures, as we were safely nestled in the prosecco hills, away from the crowds, in the quiet of this renaissance/baroque palace.
The castle has its origins in ancient roman times, as a fortress to guard trade routes. In the 13th and 14th centuries, it was owned by bishops, then passed on to the condottieri in venice. In the 16th and 17th centuries additions and renovations were made, and it is those which gave it its present venetian renaissance style.
After a long drive through the Dolimites, through snow capped mountains, rains, and winding roads, we arrived in the little town of cison di valmarino, an ancient town with a population of about 3,000. up the winding road, we arrived at the castle, where we were greeted warmly by the english speaking porter. our car was parked, our luggage delivered - along with ourselves, to our cozy little room. With its renaissance decor, we truly felt as though we had stepped back in time. Our porter offered to make reservations at the castle's restaurant, "Sansovino," and we freshened up for dinner.
What a gorgeous sight greeted us, as I swung back the shutters on our hotel window. below us lay the town of "follina", and beyond the lush green hills of this wine country.
Shortly, we were headed to the restaurant. We were the first guests to arrive, and we were welcomed into a beautifully appointed baroque dining room, resplendent in morano chandeliers and 17th/18th century paintings. All attendants were attired in suits and friendly smiles.
I was very grateful for our server, as he not only mastered the pairings of food and wine, but also seemed to be quite capable in more than a couple languages. i had my first taste of cabernet, a 2004 beauty by the name of "collalto', (susegana, italy) which came recommended by our capable steward. The fare on the menu was exceptional, a work of art.
Following our meal, we were eager to sample the local wines. We ventured down below into one of the eight bars in the castle, bar "donatello." there, we were one of two pairs of guests. the lights were dim, the ceilings and walls were of bricks or flagstone, perhaps the originial fortifications of the castle, dating back to the middle ages.
the next morning we were up early, hoping to venture out into the surrounding villages for architectural and cultural sightseeing. it was a chilly and wet morning, so we decided to "test the waters" by taking a stroll on the grounds.
back to the hotel room we ran, where we had to change again, and we were hungry. as we had now missed the buffet breakfast in the castle, and the restaurants do not open until the afternoon, we decided to head into cison to find a place to eat. in the cozy main square, overshadowed by the imposing church, we found two cafes, but no restaurant to speak of.
perhaps a mile later we found a restaurant, and discovered that we had actually walked into the next town. here we had the most delicious lasagna and spaghetti. the tomato sauce, in the "bolognese" style, was so exquisitely creamy and cheesy, that we had to order seconds on the lasagna. we came to find out that this was only the first course, and as a second we had a choice of meats grilled right over the open fire, going in the dining room. regrettably, we were full by then. what i really enjoy is the "digestiv" that is offered to patrons at the italian restaurants.
and it began to rain heavily again, and we would have waited in vain for the rains to cease, so we hurried back to our vehicle on foot. we could not resist the urge to have some "gelatto" before our return to the castle, so we stopped at the lonely cafe on the square for some hazelnut ice cream.
back in our room, another change of clothes was in order, and through the open window in the room, we heard the rain come harder and harder. romantic, but discouraging. we knew there would be no sightseeing, no touring of wineries.
many hours later we awoke, made appointments at the spa, and prepared ourselves for more adventures in relaxation. the "beauty farm," was an exceptional treat. with its turkish bath, sauna, finnish bath with hydrotherapy,
roman tepidarium, and a team of great masseurs, we truly felt like the king and queen of the castle. after our warm essential oil body massages, (25 euros for 30 min.) we strolled around in our robes and sampled all the place had to offer.
we ended the night at "la fucina," the pizzeria in the castle. Also a delectable destination for good local fare, we were eager to see what it had to offer.
and what gorgeous sight greeted our eyes, when the bright sun pierced its rays into our room the next morning. as a prelude to the nice weather we would have for the rest of our trip, we were thrilled and ready to head to venice!
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