Thursday, September 14, 2006

We've arrived at our castle in Rome

When we arrived at the gates of Scandeluzza Castle in Rome, Italy, it was raining and someone from the castle had to come out and open the gates to allow our driver to enter the inner courtyard. The rain made it all the more eerie and romantic like something out of a fairytale.

Built in the 1700's, this Italian castle recently opened up to the public as a bed and breakfast. We're staying up in the tower of the castle. We have 2 bedrooms with 2 queen sized beds, a twin bed, a fireplace in each room, and a bathroom. Plus free roam of the castle.

Here's Astrid walking in front of our bed in the main room of the tower. You can see the marble seating that wraps around the one corner of the room. Astrid's holding a raccoon doll that was given to her by our host, Xenia (who we later found out is the fiance' of the Italian Prince who owns the castle). Xenia loves children (and can't wait to have many of her own) so she really doted on Astrid and couldn't get enough of her. One of four sides of the tower. These windows face the front, with a view of the large inner courtyard.Another side of the tower. The windows on the left side are of the 2nd inner chamber room that will be Astrid's bedroom.Same hallway, but this time Astrid running down it. Still holding onto her raccoon, while exploring. (We'd end up losing the raccoon in Amsterdam. She dropped it out of her stroller, and when we turned around, it was gone. Someone had snatched it up. Finders keepers.)She loved running around inside the tower. It's the greatest thing for a kid. No furniture or anything that could possible be knocked over, or injure her. Just room to run, and stuff to look at. These arched windows with inlaid bricks that line the walls of the tower are magnificent. I couldn't help but think that archers could be strategically placed inside the tower to protect the castle, or to get even more Monty Python, cauldrons of scalding tar could be strategically poured on those below trying to enter the castle from all sides.Since it was raining, our hosts asked us if we'd like to stay in for dinner and eat in the castle's dining room. Uwe and I were both beat from the journey and knowing that we would need to put Astrid to bed soon, it sounded like a great idea. Why go out to a restaurant (in the pouring rain) when we could enjoy a romantic dinner in the castle (while our little one was sleeping upstairs)?

We ate dinner in the hall of knights. The dining room surrounded by knights armor with a long wooden table, and a great big fireplace in front of us, felt like something out of King Arthur's "Knights of the Round Table". Although it didn't have any of this stuff (meats and such) hanging from the ceiling (like in the photo above). But there was a huge oak barrel next to the fireplace with a huge ham hock. There was also an antique candelabra on our table with lit candles, which Uwe tried to pick it up to see if it was real. It was so heavy, he could barely lift it. It could have belonged in a museum along with so many other antiques and collectibles in the castle. It really felt like we were transported in time to another era. Very cool for our first night (a rainy one at that) spent in the castle.

Our hosts ordered Margarita pizza for us which was delicious and we had some red wine from the Count's winery.

Uwe found a document posted on one of the walls downstairs with the Italian Owner's official Knighthood decree. So in addition to being an Italian Prince/Count, he's also a knight. Hopefully we'll get to meet this Italian Prince/Count/Knight in the morning, as the castle is also his home.

Uwe went up to check on Astrid a couple times during dinner and she was sound asleep. So we enjoyed our dinner, and afterwards we roamed around the castle for a bit (which is how Uwe found the Knight papers) and then we went up to the tower to retire for the evening.

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