Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lunch with a Princess? Tom's Take...

"If you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true"    Cinderella

Tom's Take:   Ok I’ll admit, when Sandy first said that we were going to have lunch with a Princess in her castle my initial reaction was, "Boy, someone sold you a bill of goods. Is Elvis going to be there too?"   I mean really, who does that kind of stuff?  We are Tom and Sandy from Colorado, not Tom and whoever he’s married to from Hollywood.  How much wine did she have to drink anyway?  I went along with it because she was so excited, and it’s usually me taking her down some goofy boondoggle.  I thought, maybe I’ll finally know what it feels like to smile at her and say "See, I told you so”.

We arrived in Vignanello by train and when we walked up to the front of the castle I was expecting to see a pumpkin shaped carriage parked in the circular drive.  I figured the guy that was going to answer the door would look strangely like a mouse.  None of that happened and I was becoming slightly disappointed.  Instead we were met by a lovely woman who introduced herself as Princess Giada Ruspoli.  What, no big billowing blue gown? And no glass slippers? I’ll bet Elvis isn’t here either. She led us to her private quarters, a large room with a massive fire place, and a roaring fire. There we were treated to appetizers and an endless glass of wine.  The room overlooked the family garden, with path ways and sculptured trees and hedges.  I found myself thinking, "I could get used to this".   After a great lunch she led us on a tour of the castle where she showed us a room the Pope had slept in during the 16th century and revealed private escape passage ways behind hidden doors.  It was amazing! 

She later took us to her family's church a few blocks away, where the church organ was designed by George Frideric Handel.  I know, I said “who” too.  Handle is the great composer who wrote Handles Messiah and he was commissioned by the Ruspoli family to build the organ for the church. Floriana, the guide that had set all this up, serenaded us with her beautiful opera voice accompanied by a friend playing the organ and the acoustics were amazing.  Even without the glass slippers this was a very fun day. But the castle was the best part. Oh if I had been a little boy growing up in that place with all the rooms and secret passageways hide and seek would have gone on for days.  Okay, so once again Sandy was right.


Travel Tip:  Talk to the locals, they always know of the secret sites to visit!

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