Lynn’s Photos

One of the very best parts of having Lynn with me for part of this trip was that she’s a great photographer. These are a few of my favorites:

Ann’s paintings:

A Family New Years Celebration

Few things make me quite as happy as hearing from guests who love Benano as much as we do. With their permission, I’m sharing notes from the heads of two wonderful families who rented the villa over New Years. But first, enjoy their vacation photos (have you ever seen such beautiful families?)!

Hi Karen — We arrived safely home and went back to work the next day then battled fairly exhausting jetlag for a week….but it was all worth it.

We all had the most glorious week in Benano and Rocca Di Benano will stay in our hearts for the rest of our lives. I will dream of going back one day and daydream about being there at least once a week for many years to come.

Thank you for all your help and wonderful advice, we felt like we had you there by our side as we explored far and wide.

We were all incredibly comfortable and never felt like we were on top of each other. It’s not easy having two families living together but doing it at Rocca Di Benano made it seem incredibly easy.

Our highlights would have been:

  • Civita Di Banorregio
  • NYE in Orvieto
  • Perugia
  • Walking the country lane up behind Benano
  • Sitting on the bench in Benano looking out to Orvieto and enjoying the incredible peace

I wasn’t well one day but the rest of our group went to the restaurant in Aquapendente (where you said Grandma still rules the kitchen) and they were thrilled with the meal. I think they would all say that was a food highlight.

Most of all, the highlight was your home, thank you for sharing it with us. Please don’t hesitate to pass my email on to anyone wanting to know how much we enjoyed it and would recommend it.

I thought you might get some enjoyment out of some of the squillions of photos of our time at Benano. I didn’t think there was any point sending you the photos of all the things you have already taken beautiful photos of so I thought you might enjoy a little taste of us enjoying life in Benano and beyond.

Thank you again, I hope you continue to be able to share your beautiful home with lots of lucky travellers and that you get back there yourself as often as you would like to.

Warmest Regards and a big thank you hug,



Hi Karen — On behalf of my family, I would just like to thank you for the wonderful time we had in Benano. The house exceeded our expectations and was the perfect base to explore the wonderful region. It must be so exciting owning that marvelous piece of History. Staying in Benano really gave us a sense of being a local. The neighbors were divine, and very patient with my terrible Italian. The house was comfortable, warm and well equipped. We took a lot of your recommendations and we didn’t have one bad day. We were worried about traveling in winter, but were absolutely blessed with the weather. In our three and a half weeks in Italy we didn’t have one rainy day and mostly blue skies. I know Orvieto suffered a lot with the torrential rains in November.

The Orvieto Jazz Festival was fabulous – we have really seen Orvieto at its best. There was a constant party atmosphere the whole time we were there. The four teens from both families are all budding musicians and the two older boys play the Sax and are really into their Jazz so it was a wonderful experience for them.

We took your recommendations and went to Civita, Deruta, Perugia and to lake Bolsena and loved them all. We ate at the wonderful Albergo Toscana  in Acquapendente which was fabulous.

On New Years Eve we had a meal in Orvieto listening to a wonderful Jazz Band then went back to Benano and sat on the car park wall watching the fireworks below. It was a wonderful week and a great experience for our children.

We will definitely be telling all of our friends about Benano, but please send me links to the sites you would like me to write a review on as we are very keen to spread the news of your wonderful house!

Many Many Thanks Again,


Benano’s Neighborhood Artist

We love collecting travel tips from our guests. Some of our favorite guests told us that one of the highlights of their stay at Rocca di Benano was their visit to renowned ceramic artist Marino Moretti’s studio. After seeing the art they brought home, we decided we needed to get to know Marino.

mor cat_lrg_img Jan11

It wasn’t hard. Marino warmly welcomes visitors, is very engaging, and speaks great English. And he lives and works in Viceno, a short walk from Benano. It’s easy to find him there because he lives in the castle at the top of the town. (Have I grabbed your attention yet, or is visiting a guy who lives in a castle “old hat” to you?) So when you reach Viceno, just keep walking uphill until you get to his studio. Here’s a report on a recent visit to Marino’s castle/studio, written by an American blogger who lives in Orvieto.

mor ochreturq sml vase sm

mor fish sml pitch 45of61 sm

Marino literally grew up around ceramics; his father collected traditional ceramics and pottery fragments. When Marino was 13, he began copying pieces from his father’s collection. Three decades later, Marino’s whimsical work, which he has exhibited all over the world, celebrates his own unique interpretation of the traditional figures he first saw in his father’s collection and features fantastic scenes and brilliant colors.

IMG_1224IMG_1222Marino is always happy to open his studio to guests from Rocca di Benano. All it takes is a phone call or email to arrange a time to visit to his studio and watch him work (from Benano dial 320-265-1654, or email him at Marino will demonstrate how he throws his pottery and paints his unique figures. Guests can choose between a visit lasting a half-hour (25 euros for the group) or an hour (50 euros). The price of each such visit will include a small ceramic piece to take home with you.

One of my favorite pieces.  As I write this, Marino is working on a similar piece that should grace our living room in Ohio before too long

One of my favorite pieces. As I write this, Marino is working on a similar piece that should grace our living room in Ohio before too long.

On a recent visit, we worked with Marino to design this piece, which he created and delivered to us a couple days later, in time for us to carry it home.

On a recent visit, we worked with Marino to design this piece, which he created and delivered to us a couple days later, in time for us to carry it home.

The Greengrocer Comes to Benano

I wish a truckload of fresh fruits and vegetables would pull up to our front door in Cincinnati every week.

A note for our guests: this truck arrives on Thursdays around noon.  The complete schedule of vendors who come to Benano is in the house book.

Waiting for the Bread Truck

Every morning around 10:00, a white van pulls up to the parking area in Benano. The driver sounds his horn loud and long, then jumps out and runs around to swing open the van’s back doors and the women of the village buy their bread. I arrived a little early yesterday, sat on a stone bench in the warm sunshine, worked on a baby sweater I’m knitting, and drank it all in.

Around the corner, just inside the village gate, Anna washed a huge tub of chicory at the public faucet. 

Giovanna came out of her door that’s across from the faucet, and chatted with Anna about not much of anything.

Outside the walls, Ida walked down the hill to deposit a bag of garbage in the bin in front of the bocce court and returned to the house she shares with her son and daughter-in-law, letting her gate clang behind her.

Ronaldo did what he does so well: sat on the stone wall in front of his house, exchanging pleasantries with whomever happens by.  (One of the many delights of my slowly improving Italian is being able to exchange such pleasantries.)

Two women, the youngish one supporting the very old one, trudged up the hill from the apartments and chatted with Ronaldo on their way by.

Ida came out again and joined me on the bench against the wall.  Soon, Giovanna and Anna emerged from around the corner and we all waited in amicable companionship.  I was surprised to learn that Giovanna is a very experienced knitter (she used to do piece work) and she still has a keen eye.  She spotted a mistake I was making.

I also learned that absolute fluency with a language is overrated.  Friendship overcomes lousy grammar and a limited vocabulary.