Muddled Times
Issue:Issue 26, March 2004
Section:Game Information

Guide to Il Castellare

Ciao, and welcome. Olive groves. A stone built villa in the Italianate style, reached by a driveway up from the ford in the river. Breath-taking views. It can only be Tuscany.

Only that is not the case this time. Today we are visiting the sunny resting place known as "Il Castellare".

They say that travel is rewarding, and that's certainly true here. Many a mage has been known to nip over from a quick treasure-hunting spree, with traditional marquetry and headgear a favourite. Whether it's a bonnet, or one of those truly magical nightcaps you are after, the dedicated souvenir hunter will be rewarded here.

Reaching it is simple, head west to the river, cross the ford, best done when the torrent is relaxed after the rains, and up the driveway.

It is an impressive stone building, with a tower that has a commanding view. But don't forget to explore the surroundings on your way. It's a charming mixture of richness and rustic charm. From the workshop and fishing room, very rustic put pretty bare if all you want are souvenirs, try heading westwards first.

A charming terrace, where you can imagine breakfasting in style, leads out further into a narrow pathway down to the swimming pool. You can imagine how delightful this must have been on a hot day, after battling for an hour or two, to dive into and cool off. But only imagine. Sadly, these days the pumps have failed and the slimy green water looks distinctly unwelcoming.

As you head back to the main building, check out the charming barn off the terrace. Occasionally people have been know to stumble over such rural trinkets as a horse brass, although it's often hidden under a bale of hay. Though oddly, the bale is often collected too. Some people have some strange ideas of what constitutes a keepsake of their holiday.

As you return, spare some time at the forecourt to look up to the olive groves above you, and the charming monastery that looks over them. You would be well advised to factor that into the trip, if you can but that of course is another tour.

One of the major problems in this region is vandalism. It is not uncommon for tourists, lacking the foresight to get a key to the property, simple grab a handy axe or similar tool and bash in the doors in their desire to visit. Please try and be more considerate, after all it's a hot climate here, it takes a lot more effort to bash doors in than to simply unlock them, hence wasting precious time, not to mention extra deodorant. If you use it, of course?

This is actually a classic renovation, being originally three buildings, turned into one fine dwelling by a previous owner.

From the forecourt, head into the hall, or as it is known here, the ingresso. From here you can head off northeast or west to the various parts of the property, or upwards, to the tower.

Westwards takes us to the leisure area of the building. A sitting room, bearing the familial coat of arms, leading to a music room, and out into a little courtyard. From here you can take the shortcut to the dining area, and on to the kitchen. Which should be visited if only for the silverware that is stored here (vandals willing).

Southwards, and its more leisure areas. The games room, the flower room, and the main resting area of the previous occupant, the day room, all charming, all occasionally home to some easily collected gifts for friends at home.

Finally its west back to the ingresso, and we start our journey up the tower. On the first floor, you have to wonder what went on. Lots of spare bedrooms, but so many bathrooms, and a shower room? And that shared bathroom, between two rooms? Party time here must have been an interesting affair.

Up the tower stairs to the landing, and eventually the nursery. Plenty of toys here if you need them, though sadly battered and not too valuable. Check out the alcove, where equipment used to be stored. The odd stray toy turns up here, should you need to play Cowboys and Indians.

And finally, the Nanny's room, right at the top, with the best views, easy access to the children's area, and a small bottle of something warming for when the nights turn cold. Enjoy the views; give the snugglepuss a tickle, for you have come to the end of your visit to Il Castellare.

That's all for this trip, time for a small espresso for me, and planning the next feature. Topiary, and all that!

Mail the author

... click here to return to the category list.
... or click here to go to the front page of this issue.