donderdag 16 februari 2012

Magical Italy

There are those places in the world which are just so beautiful that you just have to have visited them once in your life. One of the places is Riomaggiore in Italy.

Riomaggiore, situated in a small valley just along the coast, is the first Cinque Terre Village you meet coming from La Spezia. The houses of the medieval village lean one to the other, intersected by deep small streets and sheltered paths. In the central lands are all vine-yards, producing a famous and good white wine. Its origins date back to the end of the XII century. "Rivus Major" is the ancient name of the biggest river which crossed the village.

The quay is suggestive and framed among typical coloured buildings called "case torri" (tower houses). Torre Guardiola's path starts from the small Fossola beach is an incredible botanic walk in the nature. Unforgettable is "Via dell'Amore" the most famous path of Cinque Terre from Riomaggiore to Manarola.

Where to stay?

If you are thinking of going to this beautiful region of Italy, you might want the check out this hotel. It is nestled in incomparable scenery, Hotel Porta Roca gives the impression of sailing above by the sea accompanied by fragrant flowers and the sounds of birds chirping. It is surrounded by the pristine nature of the Cinque Terre and its lush Mediterranean vegetation overlooking the bay of Monterosso. This view of crystal clear waters and sheer cliffs makes it a paradise beyond compare.

I also love the story behind this hotel:
Mr. Giacinto JACAZZI, a man form Milan and creator of fashion, arrived in Monterosso by chance. He immediately fell in love with this small fisherman's village surrounded by natural beauty. Enchanted by the view of Punta Corone, he rented a "gozzo", a typical Ligurian boat, from a fisherman to take to sea in order to get a good look and distinguish the part that impressed him the most. After only an hour he had contacted the owners and was closing the deal on the land he wished to buy. At the beginning he thought of constructing a house for himself and his family. However, he then decided that a place so wonderful should be enjoyed my many people, not just one family, and here his dream was born: he wished to construct a beautiful hotel.

Dreams are always wonderful, but not always easy to make reality. In fact Monterosso, it was 1960 at the time, did not have a trafficable street connecting it to other towns and you had to bring all of the construction material by boat or by train. You then had to reach the cliff where there were terraces made for vineyards and get there with the right equipment to create a flat construction ground. There were really many obstacles, but he was a dreamer and lover of beauty so he did not give up.

The workers were recruited local experts who had to carve a road out of the cliff using mines and picks. The road was used to access the construction site and to allow a particularly courageous driver to maneuver an excavator to flatten out banks at the edge of the sheer cliffs. Two ships brought stones from the mine to Mesco, expert chiselers shaped them and the women form Monterosso climbed up to the constructions site carrying baskets of sand on their head.

There were problems every day, landslides, surprises, complications, that meant delays and much more money, but Mr. Jacazzi did not ever get discouraged and slowly the hotel began to take shape. Finally in 1963 his dream came to life.

Now that the construction was done, he had to decorate the interior of the hotel. Here, everything was much simpler due to the fact that his whole life he had collected beautiful antique pieces. He purchased with passion and competence, in his hometown of Milan, at a time when true antiques were very exclusive and accessible to very few. Thus, in this comfortable and modern structure, there rested an ancient heart rendering the hotel particularly characteristic and inviting.

At this point just name was missing. The choice derived from a costal place just behind Punta Corone, that the old fisherman called Porta Roca, for it was a very small natural, somewhat evocative, port.

Today Mr. Giacinto is no longer with us, but his memory remains around ever corner, in every piece of furniture and in every particular detail that he had wished to create. His dream came true and it makes others dream too...
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