All in a day's work

Two and a half years out of a perfectly wonderful career at Procter & Gamble, I still find myself mildly unsettled without a real job description (let alone quarterly goals, success measures, and annual reviews) for my work at Rocca di Benano.  If I had one, it would include something along these lines:

Accelerate guests’ enjoyment of rural Italy by providing them ample recommendations for day trips, activities, restaurants, etc.

All of which is to say that my afternoon in Bolsena was a business trip.  It was my job to make the 25-minute drive down to this beautiful medieval town situated on Europe’s largest volcanic lake on a spectacular Spring day.

I had to have lunch at Trattoria Picchietto, a lovely restaurant that we recommend to our guests.  I had a delicious Minestra di Tinca, or spicy fish soup, and field-fresh salad.  Other diners in the courtyard were so friendly that those at the next table poured me a glass of the wine from their bottle when they saw I was alone — and wineless.  But these were merely fringe benefits of my work.  My objective was to optimize the relevance of the consumer-facing copy I produce for guests.  Simply put, I was efforting to gather value-added learnings that will take my material to the next level.  (See? I still have it.)

My after-lunch stop didn’t go according to the workplan.  (Note to self: will you ever learn to anticipate afternoon closures in Italy?)  I had about an hour to kill, so I did what any self-respecting business traveller would do: I stopped in on Bella Pizza, one of the best pizza a taglio (pizza by the slice) places in the area, and bought a couple of slices for my dinner.  And I still had time to walk down the broad boulevard to Lake Bolsena, which sparkled in the afternoon sun.  In true corporate fashion, I squeezed in a coffee break, too.

Finally, I was able to fulfill my final objective for the visit (I am nothing if not diligent): I sampled the highly touted (and deservedly so) gelateria just off the main town square.  It’s a friendly, surprisingly small shop, and the gelato (I had ricotta/cinnamon and  chocolate) is exquisite.

The particulars:

The restaurant:  Trattoria Tipica da Picchietto, Via Porta Fiorentiana, 15, Phone: (0761) 799158.  Closed Mondays.

The pizza: Bella Pizza, Via G. Marconi, 10, Phone: (0761)  799904

The gelato: Gelateria Santa Cristina, Corso della Repubblica 8, Phone: (0761) 798758


  1. Kathy

    Great combination of your personal story and practical tips on what there is to do near Benano. How the “old you” bumps up against “the new.” Maybe you’ll inspire others to jump off the cliff into what’s possible.

  2. Hard-charging American business exec meets la dolce vita. Enjoyed the post, Karen – as always! Seems funny to see the lakefront so quiet since we’ve only been there in the bustling (by Italian standards) summer months.

  3. Janet Smith

    What a tough job you have Karen! This whole experience would bode well on your P&G W&DP. Seeks out new opportunities to expand the business! You go girl! Keep those posts coming!

  4. great post!

    in design speak, i’d call what you did a pre-design “immersion session” in order to inspire your target audience :>


  5. Mary Josephine Hall

    I’ve been so enjoying keeping up with your adventures. Living a dream, I’d say. So happy for you and Paul, fulfilling your heart’s desires and finding such joy doing it. Hopefully, one day soon I can find my way to your beautiful home away from home. Italy is next on my travel agenda.

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