Monday, July 19, 2010

A Castle...Really?

This is from a photo of a "castle" we stayed in when we were in Tuscany.  We had already been to Venice and Florence and had stayed in very nice hotels and I was very excited that we would be in a castle for our last stop.  On the way there, we got stuck in Sienna.  Everyone says how wonderful that city is but my memories of it give me nightmares.  We were there on a Sunday so everything was closed and after seeing the city we were ready to continue on our journey but we kept ending up at the same intersection.  There was one sign that pointed to the highway that we wanted but we couldn't find the road.  Of course, nobody we saw spoke English and I was getting hungry (never a good situation).  Somehow, we finally got out of town and went to find our castle.

We found the town and stopped to get directions to the castle at their tourist center.  The local police were waiting for us when we returned to our car and extorted $60.00 out of us for a parking ticket for parking in a no parking spot (no signs posted).  We still hadn't found anything to eat because no restaurants were open in the afternoon.  Luckily, our castle included dinner in their price.  As we were driving, I happened to be looking at our itinerary and noticed that the cost of the castle was $79.00 a night.  This was back in 2001 but still, that seemed way too cheap.  Once we got there, of course, we figured it out.  We weren't staying IN the castle, we were on the castle grounds in one of their surrounding buildings.  The room was nice enough but they wouldn't let anyone in to even see the castle.  One person I asked said they were doing renovations and the second person told me that they never let anyone into it.  In our room was a notebook with a bunch of rules listed.  The one that really cracked us up was "There is a refrigerator on the second floor.  Please do not put food or medicine in it."  I still haven't figured out why they even mentioned it or what else you would put in it.   They made it very obvious that they didn't really want guests there.  They probably need the money to pay the taxes on the place, or maybe local parking tickets.

We never found out what the dinner would have included.  Some other guests warned us that we would leave the dining room needing to find a restaurant because the offerings were so meager.

It sounds like that part of our trip was horrible but it's actually one of my fondest memories of Italy.  Or maybe I should say it is the most memorable....

This is another palette knife painting.  The subject matter was probably not the best choice for using a palette knife.  It was really hard to do the crenellations  on the castle.  Oh well, live and learn.

A Castle...Really?
Image Size 8" x 8"
$100.00 Unframed, painted on wood, sides painted, can be hung unframed
Shipping included in continental US


  1. I have to say that this little portion of your trip doesn't even sound fun! But you sure got a lovely painting out of it! There is a bit of a storybook feel to this piece that I adore...Maybe it is because I know the story behind the piece? Either way, it is wonderful, Nancy!

  2. Thanks Sherry. The area was really beautiful and the castle had a very medieval feel to it. It even had it's own 'Lurch" character. When we arrived at the castle, the gate was closed. We rang the buzzer and this huge guy that I swear was Lurch from "The Addams Family" came lumbering toward us and said,"I will take you to my brother" in a very Lurch-like voice. After our encounter with the corrupt cop and Lurch, we were beginning to wonder about this area. Over the three days we were there driving around, we kept seeing that cop pulling people over. If he was extorting money from each of them, he must be rich and retired by now.
    When we left our castle to go to the airport, we got stuck in Sienna AGAIN! I swear I hate that town. This time was worse though because we ended up in the old section (my fault, I misread the signs) and the streets were 1 car wide with people walking in them. I didn't think we would ever get out of there and I thought for sure we were going to miss the plane. The signage in Italy is horrible and the maps aren't much better!

  3. But the real question is: Would you go back? LOL I have to agree with Deborah; it does indeed make a great story. "You rang???"

  4. Thanks Deborah, it is a fun memory.

    Well Sherry, I'd say probably not to that town in Tuscany and if anyone wanted me to go back to Sienna I think I'd have a panic attack but any other part of Italy, definitely yes. I love Italy.

  5. Nancy, It was lovely meeting you yesterday at Randy's. It was a great lunch and getting to know session wasn't it. Your story of Sienna cracks me up...we have similar stories of Sienna and Tuscany as a must be par for the region. But what a wonderful memory you have now...and a lovely painting to go with it! Happy creating to you!

  6. Thanks Julie. I wouldn't trade these memories for anything.


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