Tag Archives: Molise

Bagnoli dei Trigno

8 Jul

Last winter, when I started making plans to visit Pietrabbondante, I noted that the town did not have any hotels, but listed some nearby. I booked the closest one, as it had a few good online reviews, and never really thought about it again.

After our wonderful visit to Pietrabbondante, we headed to Bagnoli dei Trigno where the hotel was located, a town close as the crow flies, but about 30 minutes by car as we had to head down one “hill” and up another. Len said it was the curviest road he had ever been on, one switchback after another.

Finally we came to an intersection: Bagnoli dei Trigno was one direction, and the Domus Hotel another. Since this was our hotel, we headed left, followed the road around a large curve looking for a tiny hotel, and came upon this…

blogginginitaly.com

blogginginitaly.com

and even better, this incredible view!

blogginginitaly.com

blogginginitaly.com

It turns out our hotel is a medical/sports/health spa, large, lovely, very clean and only three years old. Interestingly, there was only one other hotel guest that night, but it was a Monday.

We were hungry after a long morning in Pietrabbondante and they were more than happy to prepare lunch for us. This is a vegetable flan on one side and suckling pig on the other…I forgot to take a photo before Len and I split it, but you get the idea…fresh and delicious, and prepared only when ordered.

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blogginginitaly.com

After lunch, we strolled around the property, sat in the sun, and marveled at the view.

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blogginginitaly.com

I also had a massage, and why not since this was a health spa. For dinner, we enjoyed their homemade pasta with local tomatoes and fresh mozzarella from the region.

blogginginitaly.com

blogginginitaly.com

I don’t really know much about the town of Bagnoli dei Trigno except that as of the end of 2004, it had a population of about 850 living in fourteen square miles. What I do know is that from the hotel, it is a sight to behold, especially from our vantage point at sunset.

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blogginginitaly.com

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blogginginitaly.com

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blogginginitaly.com

The next day, we visited the town of Bagnoli. The few people we spoke to were very friendly and a nice man even opened his market/bar/cafe to make us fresh paninis. The newer part of the city is at the base, with the ancient part still somewhat inhabited. We were told that the Lombards built the castle at the top, although it was closed for reconstruction so we weren’t able to get near. What we did find was a very quiet ancient city, actually much lovelier from a distance.

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blogginginitaly.com

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This is a view looking at our hotel (center) from the top of the ancient town.

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blogginginitaly.com

At night, our hotel put on its own light show.

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blogginginitaly.com

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Per their brochure, Domus offers dancing under the stars as well as concerts on weekends. A perfect setting for sure! They even have a wood burning pizza oven which is large enough for seven pizzas at once.

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blogginginitaly.com

Such a pleasant surprise and an incredibly relaxing stay in a tiny hill top town. As we left Bagnoli, we couldn’t help but look once more at the vista we will long remember.

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blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,

Judy

 

 

Zampognari…Italian Bagpipers!

23 Dec

Zampognari Keep Alive the Tradition of Festive Bagpipe Playing

Although we often associate bagpipers with the English and Scots, did you know that bagpipers are an important part of Christmastime tradition in Italy? Read on to discover the history.

Article reprinted from Italy Magazine, Barry Lillie | Monday, December 23, 2013 – 10:00

No Italian Christmas would be complete without the sound of bagpipes. Everywhere from the piazzas of Rome to remote hillside villages, the Zampognari (pipers) continue the tradition of festive bagpipe playing that dates back to ancient Roman times.

Traditionally, the pipers were shepherds who, in a bid to earn an extra income, would travel down from their mountain homes at Christmas time to perform for the townsfolk in their markets squares. The regions where you’re most likely to see a piper are Abruzzo, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria, Molise, Puglia and Lazio.

The traditional dress of the piper is made of short breeches with criss-crossed leather leggings, sheepskin vests with a woollen cloak and peaked cap; there are regional changes such as velvet jackets or neckerchiefs, but the look of the piper remains mostly the same it has for centuries.

Legend tells us that of the shepherds who visited the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem, after gazing upon the baby Jesus, some took out their bagpipes and played. In keeping with the legend, the pipers will stop at public Nativity scenes for a few minutes of quiet contemplation.

Historically, the piper is accompanied by a shawm, a medieval woodwind instrument; however, today’s pipers are usually accompanied by an oboe player. They play traditional music, with a popular song being the Christmas hymn, Tu scendi dalle stelle (You come down from the stars), written by Saint Alphonsus Maria de ‘ Liguori, the bishop of Sant’Agata de’ Goti.

Watch the zampognari play “Tu scendi dalle stelle”:

http://youtu.be/RCEyN1pCm3E

Makes me wonder if my paternal grandfather’s ancestors played the bagpipes as Alex’s family was from Abruzzo. Perhaps someday I’ll find a photo.

Ciao,

Judy

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