Salvatore waited at the gate. Who knows how long he had tarried, his patience finally rewarded by the arrival of his two guests.
Yet we knew for how long, for we had travelled on back roads, main roads and even an autostrada just looking for the place that surely was less than 3 kms from the centre of town.
Past churches, ancient towers and even a university; we had even climbed through a forest towards the mountains and yet, as it transpired, this was indeed where the turn off was, the middle of the forest of mature pine trees.
After seeking a local's advice and showing him our map, for no-one else had heard of Villa Fortezza, we discerned that we were less than 4oo metres from said turn.
With frayed nerves we ascende through the trees amd, within moments of our arrival, all thoughts of dismay were banished from our minds; for here in isolated splendour was the villa of our dreams.
Panoramic views over the town and beyond to the surrounding hills brought smiles to our faces as the evening lights glistened in the cool autumn air.
Two long mosquito nets gathered near the top and made narrow hung from the trees lit by blue and red lights.
Salvatore ushered us into his villa and our smiles became wider with wonder as we gaped at this architectural feast of 100 fish shapes hanging beneath his staircase, of artistic sculptures (by his girlfriend who was responsible for the decor), ultra modern furniture, picture windows that slide into the walls and artifacts beyound count.
Did I mention how artistic it was? You could seriously walk into this home 100 times and still note something new on each occasion. There is so much modern art it beggars description. The word "plethora" seems inadequate and so much is indescribable but nonetheless impressive.
Next morning in the garden we note the 25 assorted candles on a tree stump, the indians paddling a canoe when the wind blows a weather vane, the two crushed metal cubes (one with a candleabra prominent), the garish rock and other tree stump on which are painted people's faces and the ancient tower next door, once a part of the fort (fortezza).
Indeed, while we partake of a seemingly endless breakfast with the sun's warming rays streaming through yet another picture window and, who else but Edith Piaf providing a musical background, we realise this is not a B&B - NON - it is an experience; one we will treasure for the rest of our lives.
Breakfasts were great and the ambience looking out the window across the garden to the old tower in the morning was wonderful.
Cantina Dell'Arte is the real deal! Located on an alley-like street (Rua della Lupa, 8) it is away from the business of Ascoli's active nightlife. It is quiet, comfortable and inexpensive. The only negative I encountered was no A/C or fans. It was quite warm during the day in late June but the nights were cool and refreshing. If you are cost-conscious, Cantina Dell'Arte is a great stay. It is super-clean with an outstanding staff.
For 30 euros per night, I had a single bed, private bath, television, and peace and quiet. This is a no-frills hotel but is full of charm. As of August, 2007, reservations can only be made in person or by telephone. Checking the web, it appeared their website is under construction.
The biggest breakfast we have ever had in our lives! Emanuela and Emidio were wonderful - they made us feel so welcome and part of their family. The garden is Fabulous - they have worked so hard to make sure their home is an oasis. The rooms are all wonderful - My husband and I stayed in the Crepuscolo room and my mother stayed in the Aurora room.
My husband and I are both Vegetarian and Emanuela had no problem at all making lots of delicious food for us.
We can't wait to visit them again.
We obtained our information about our hotel from the Tourist Information Center, and when we said that we wanted a budget hotel, the kind woman suggestion, without reservation, the 2-star Cantina dell' Arte Pensione. She assured us that it was clean, convenient, and safe.
It's located down one of the narrow back alley-type streets, and without direction from the travel bureau, we would have had a difficult time locating it. Because of the location, it was very quiet for a good night's sleep.
As the woman had told us, the room was quite clean; the bed was firm (as we like it); it was extremely large (one queen bed, and bunk beds), and it even had a balcony!
The owner/manager told us that if we wanted, we could have a special rate at the Ristorante Cantina dell' Arte across the street. It included breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 20 Euro per person. Since we don't eat three big meals a day, we only ate dinner there the first evening.
The Pensione had a cmall (claustrophobic) lift, marble floors, nice views, large rooms, excellent bathrooms, and a convenient, yet out-of-the-way location.
We were quite impressed with this room for 40 Euro per night for the two of us!
Photo One: Queen bed with green spreads and cream-white furniture.
Photo two: Bunk beds with matching green spreads.
Photo three: Part of the bathroom. It was spotlessly clean.
Photo four: From the room through the beautiful doors to the small balcony.
Photo five: The sign on wall next to entry of the hotel. Note: it says that it is a 3-star hotel; but the tourist place has it listed as a two-star.
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