The Road to Castello   

13, Castello

We have been using and letting out our house for some 25 years now, and hundreds (actually thousands) of guests have enjoyed stays at Castello during that time. The fully asphalted road which winds up from the valley floor (Valdottavo) in order to provide those fantastic views from the terrace has not changed. But it seems that people’s expectations have!

Nowadays folk are much more demanding. You might like to ask yourself how this has happened and whether it is a good thing? I personally believe that enhanced expectations lie at the root of many of the world’s ills these days. If we could reduce the level of our expectations – be it for central heating that we can control from miles away; or the constant availability of a myriad of television and internet entertainments; from demand for spare part surgery to cars that don’t go wrong; from exotic fruits year round to instant dinner on a moped – we would be less disappointed and angry when we can’t have precisely what we want, when we want it, and to a quality which lacks for nothing. But that is to propose a philosophical question, and not to address the narrow winding road up to our house!

In recent times, guests have increasingly remarked on the road, and its twists and turns. Some have suggested that “forewarned is forearmed” – so that is what these paragraphs seek to do. Rubbish lorries; school buses; gas tankers; all reach Castello. Local residents go up and down daily. Olive growers tend their trees above the hamlet. But the nature of the road: narrow in places, with rocky edges and some vertiginous drops may not be something you are used to. What do we advise?

Basically: hire a smallish car, and arrive for the first time in the light. Those guests who grumble loudest are those who drive large cars, and arrive in the middle of the night! Once you’ve got used to the road, you probably won’t think twice about it. And going out to dinner at night can be even easier, as you can see the headlights of oncoming cars before you meet them. If you’re of a very nervous disposition; or likely to demand more than a beautiful but simple rural place can provide – then you might want to think twice before making a booking. But you’d be missing a very special treat – as all those guests over so many years would attest...

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