it's finally my turn: I own a castle and I will even have an office

our new (old) house, the castle of my dreams

Today it’s a turning point in my life. I have been waiting for this since 26 December 1996. On that day Ruurd, my husband, and I walked to the top of our beautiful hill in the snow.
Here we fell in love with the incredible views of Assisi and the surrounding countryside. Despite the dilapidated aspect of the house, we bought it against the judgment of family and friends who thought we were not a little mad.
It took us 5 years of hard work and worries to move here and start Alla Madonna del Piatto B&B and cooking school.

see my house against the splendid greenery? it's the light colored half of the building on the left. Now we own the brown part on the right as well.

Ours was the bigger half of a very large farmhouse.The rest was owned by someone who did not do much with it except keeping it quite messy.
Of course, from day one, we started to dream the impossible dream, buying the other half and have our island of peace all to ourselves.
For 10 years we have lived here and worked hard to make Alla Madonna del Piatto a dream for us and for our guests.
Meanwhile a lot has happened, good and bad.Β  Today we have finally managed, we have signed the contract, the other half of the house is ours.
a road side view of the new house. Note the lovely garden decoration.

The house is in reasonable conditions, better than the first half we bought back in 1997, it will however need quite a bit of renovation.
This will hopefully result in one or two holiday apartments, a new and larger cooking school and finally, finally, finally an office for myself! Wow, I haven’t had an office for 10 years. It’s maybe time.
new house garden, well, after "some" pruning.

Today I feel like a princess. I own my castle. Tonight I’ll have a good sleep.


  1. We are SO happy for you both, this has been a long time coming and not short of a few nightmares along the way.
    We did indeed drink to your health, and like you, have drank too much! A lovely bottle of Montefalco Rosso from Romanelli just evaporated tonight!
    So, we will see you soon and we’ll celebrate this excellent, wonderful news together!
    Love, hugs and kisses,
    Giselle & Mark

  2. Congrats, what a beautiful story, breath taking view and wonderful beginning to the future for you…. I just am so so happy for you both… again Congrats you have a lovely castle…. charming, enjoy! claudia l

  3. Congratulations both of you! Dreams really can come true! Here’s wishing you many happy times in ‘the other half’!

  4. Letizia – I could not be happier for you! We understand exactly how you feel and offer you every encouragement to maintain the elevated state of joy you are experiencing right now. That said, now get busy and fix the rest of the place up so we can come and stay with you. your friend, Amos

  5. This story of hillside castles, happiness and dreams fullfilled is very touching. I’m so happy for you!
    Buonanotte principessa.

  6. Congratulations! How wonderful to get something well deserved after years of hard work and dreams. Enjoy every moment in your gorgeous new-old place.

  7. What an inspiring story of dreams come true–Auguri! I can’t wait to celebrate this with you in person someday!

  8. Gefeliciteerd! Well done!
    Now soon you will be restoring, too bad you will only have an office once all restoration is done. (for the paperwork an office might come in handy …).

  9. ALL my love and thoughts and best wishes are with you for this project, my darling Letizia. You deserve not only an office, but every good thing that comes your way. I love you!

  10. What a beautiful dream becoming real!!
    …i hope i’ll visit Madonna del Piatto…maybe when the second half will be ready…
    in bocca al lupo per la ristrutturazione!!
    a presto

  11. I’m so very happy for you and Ruuard and your purchase of the castle. Now I must return to drink Proseco, cook once again with you and celebrate the realization of your dreams! Ciao bella

  12. Congratulations!! What a lovely piece of land and a beautiful home! But I am sure that you’re most excited about the office…haha.
    You SHOULD sleep well…you just became a princess overnight! πŸ˜‰
    Congrats on being FP!

  13. auguri per il tuo castello! Amo italia e vivo in Sardegna per tre ani. Se ha il tempo fai il click su il mio blog che tanti cosi per leggere.
    My Italian is not the greatest as my Sardinian husband and I speak a mash of English, Gallurese and Italian in the house. πŸ™‚
    Congrats on Freshly Pressed.

  14. Wow! the castle is awesome, and you’ve proved it that if you work hard keeping your dreams in mind. One day you’ll succeed and you’ll get what you have thought. Best of luck for your office and future plans.

  15. Congratulations! It all sounds like such a fabulous dream… I can imagine the hard work and toil that has gone into it as well. Good for you! May you have many happy years in your “new” house!

  16. Awesome story! I hope you enjoy it, I’m very happy for you. I’m still dreaming of my future home, I’m glad to know others have gotten what they want, my turn is coming up soon πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!
    Awkward List

  17. Ohhh, I am simply pea green with envy. It’s not a good colour on me so I’ll give myself a shake and say congratulations. You’ve worked hard and deserve your rewards.
    All the best for your future adventures.

  18. Wow keeping your dream against all odd. Just brought happy tears to my life. Living your dreams is not easy but you did it . Loved it so much. May be i’ll succeed in my dream too. Thanks for showing me some dreams come true.

  19. What a lovely dream to wake from, into the reality of it coming true. Can’t wait to see more pictures of what you’ll do with it. I think it’s a dream that most of us, food bloggers might have. Well I think its great, and I wish you the rest of your dream to come true too. Can you dream of me coming to visit you? Help me out here!

  20. Hearty congratulations on making the entire house yours! Tis a wonderful story and I wish you all of the very best. My wife (an Austrian citizen) and I moved into our splendid old family house in a verdant Tirolean valley here in Austria almost two years ago. Like yourselves, we have been restoring it slowly during the past 10 years or so. We can therefore very much empathize with the challenges and labor of love associated with restoring an ancient house and turning it into ones home. I have also described our life here in Austria in a BLOG of my own. Should you be interested, you can find it at: In the meantime, I look very much forward to your continuing reports on life in Italy. Again, all the very best!

  21. Your story is so charming, like a fairy-tale. It’s good to know about your B&B. I live in Tuscany, so we’re pretty near: maybe I could visit your castle someday… πŸ˜‰

  22. I fell in love with Assisi when I went there on a tour through Europe. Unfortunately, it was only a day trip. I could have spent the entire time there. So charming. Today, I am jealous of you!

  23. hello there… πŸ™‚ i stumbled upon your blog a while ago and i like your post! i admire your perseverance to own this place! by the way, your new home is gorgeous in a unique way πŸ˜€

  24. Congratulations!
    I think that understand you cause I want to matearilize my dream too… My dream is to buy a little house to me.
    IΒ΄m happy for you.
    -Voz do Vento

  25. That’s wonderful. Someone has got her castle and is living a very real and hard worked dream. Congrats!

  26. Congratulations! Your joy is so beautiful. Well, I guess dreams do come true–if you don’t give up. You are one blessed woman to get an office of your own, too! Have fun decorating and making it all your own. πŸ™‚

  27. I don’t know you, but am so happy for you; that your dream has manifested!! It gives us all hope for our dreams!!!
    Blessings of all good things for you, your family and all of the guests that will find the magic there!
    Mary Muncil
    Cambridge, NY USA

  28. An impulsive decision to buy a house on the hill side, sticking to the plan, mending ways to keep it on track, you deserve a sound applause. Bravo!!!

  29. I am so happy for you! I remember talking about that with you when we were there. You were so frustrated with how they were keeping their side. This is just wonderful news!!

  30. Dear Princess Madonna – what a lovely fairy tale come true. Just remember painters love cooking and that view would make landscape artists drool. It’s not a matter of “if” it’s “when” I finally get to Italy, I’ll remember your castle. See you then. Ciao Bella.

  31. Yaay!! Congratulations!! In view of what you have done with the first half, I’m sure that the whole house will be just as beautiful. Hope to see it in person!
    Ciao from John and Corry Weiss
    We’re making Gnpcchi and crostata today!

  32. In view of our pending visit, I thought I’d look at your site and see what was new – and discovered this great news!! Congratulations to you and Ruurd on this achievement. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, though… but you did it πŸ™‚ Looking forward to seeing it first-hand very soon. Pam and JΓΌrg

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