As the group of women exited the arrivals hall at Milan’s Malpensa Airport, the driver was there to greet them and take them to the bus for the ride to Poggio Verde Country Villa. When later asked what they thought as they drove through the villa gate and up the drive, the immediate response was “we gasped.”
After unpacking and having their suitcases removed for storage for the week (the better to feel “at home”), the ladies took a short walk around the villa park. Despite the gray, overcast day, the villa and grounds made for some very nice photos.
The first outing was to Dac a Trá for lunch, a wonderful restaurant with a Michelin star about ten minutes from the villa. A menu had been selected ahead of time and the group enjoyed a pre-lunch glass of rose and an amuse-bouche before their pumpkin risotto and crescenza (creamy local cheese) arrived. The dish was received very enthusiastically. The main course was a very tasty fish and the dessert, raspberry sorbet with a crispy cookie. The ladies commented on how beautifully presented everything was, mentioning that it was served on Wedgwood china.
After lunch the bus took the group on the 20-minute ride up to the beautiful little hilltop town of Montevecchia. It just so happened that the villa in the center of town was open, which is not often the case. An impromptu tour of the first floor of the villa was enjoyed by all (the second floor is occupied by the family and is not open for visitors). Most of the ladies then climbed the stairs to the church at the very top, which has a lovely view of the protected park surrounding the town (Parco Curone) and the hills of Brianza (the name of the area around Poggio Verde).
Upon leaving Montevecchia, the driver continued on up the ridge in the direction of the tiny cheese shop at the farmhouse up the road. A few cheeses were purchased to enjoy during the week.
Dinner at the villa was homemade tagliatelle pasta with fresh veggies and herbs, accompanied by some nice Italian wines. It was followed by a salad and a dessert from Fumagalli, the excellent local pastry shop. Then it was time to go to bed and rest up for the next day’s adventure to Bergamo and Franciacorta.
A wonderful group of guests arrived recently from Kansas, Oklahoma and Michigan for a five-day stay at Poggio Verde and by all accounts they enjoyed themselves thoroughly! The first couple arrived on a Friday, got settled in and took a few photos of the beautiful villa.
Checking the kitchen garden
Ready for the chef
The second and third terraces (pool under renovation)
The south terrace of the villa
The view from the master bedroom
Gardenias on the terrace of the master bedroom
Checking the flowers on the terrace outside the master bedroom
The south terrace
Unloading in the courtyard
While waiting for the second couple to arrive, one of the guests took a walk down the road outside the gates to get a closer look at the wildflowers she had passed on the way in. They were in full bloom!
Wildflowers in the field outside the gate
The second couple arrived and after settling in a bit, the group made a run to Rex Market for provisions. They arrived around 2:00 and discovered that Rex is closed mid-day so they made a quick little visit to Montevecchia, the lovely hilltop village about ten minutes from the market (15 from Poggio Verde). The Gelateria in the center of town turned out to be excellent!
The second couple arrives
Chatting on the terrace
Rex hours of operation (Mon-Fri 8:30-1:00 and 2:30-7:30; Sat all day, Sun 8:30-1:00)
Garden near the parking lot of Montevecchia
Another view of a garden in Montevecchia
Lots of options for walking trails from Montevecchia
Go that way… under the tunnel
A selfie of the first two couples
The stairs to the church. Great views!
Outside the church in Montevecchia
Excellent options at the little gelato shop in Montevecchia
Nice poster in the Gelateria
The Hannings at Montevecchia
The courtyard of the villa in Montevecchia
After picking up provisions, dinner was started while it rained heavily outside. The rain stopped just in time to grill the lamb chops! After dinner it was barely drizzling so the group took a little walk around the grounds before an early bedtime to de-jetlag.
Preparing the base for the second course
Lamb chops for a first course
Starting the potatoes
Sunset after a nice cleansing rain
Grilling the lamb chops outside the kitchen
Final prep of the lamb chops
Fish with tomatoes and fennel
View from the “Portico Coperto”
View of the south side of the villa from the Portico Coperto
Nice image from the top of the stairs to the second terrace
A corner of the villa
View from the Roccolo
Roses growing at the corner of the Roccolo
Walking near the Roccolo
Last weekend Luigi and I enjoyed a day strolling through the lovely Val Curone just 20 minutes from Poggio Verde. It’s a protected valley dotted with farms and vineyards in the setting of the Italian pre-Alps: the perfect place to spend a pretty winter day.
We had lunch at Oasi di Galbusera Bianca, a charming Agriturismo located in a WWF “Oasis for Biodiversity”, surrounded by a dynamic organic farm. We enjoyed a simple but delicious meal in the cozy atmosphere, close to a welcoming fireplace. Beyond the restaurant, there’s also a country-style bar where you can taste organic snacks, cold dishes and locally made sorbets. We tasted the local wine made by the nearby vineyard La Costa, a surprisingly crisp and clean white wine called La Brigante made with the Chardonnay and Incrocio Manzoni grape varieties. We’ll be visiting the La Costa winery very soon to pick up some bottles for Poggio Verde!
The location is surrounded by the Regional Nature Reserve of Montevecchia and the Curone Valley . After lunch we took advantage of this enchanting place and had a relaxing walk amongst the vineyards along well-marked trails. There are various trails for all tastes, and we were overtaken by a mountain bike or two. Our cousins the birders (Peters 1 + 2, Susie and Connie, you know who you are!) would have gone wild with all the feathered wildlife around. Next time I hope to come with them! – Gretchen