A fat, bewhiskered dog snoozes happily on the floor of my room as church bells ring and roosters crow.
It’s morning at Casa Scaparone outside Alba, Italy.
My first moments here I could do nothing but happily wander the grounds, inwardly oohing and aahing at the rustic vignettes of life at an Italian agriturismo.
By night the wonderful old farmhouse serves as bed and breakfast for several guests from around the world, but by day it is a working farm. Four families labor side by side tilling the earth, gathering in the harvest, and preserving glistening jars of fruits, vegetables and preserves.
I love every bit of this rambling place, from the amazing bricked ceilings and floors worn smooth and polished to the old wooden crates full of apples and wrought iron lanterns covered with wisteria vines.
But my favorite spot is the dining room, the hub of activity here. It is the center of jolly weekends when it is filled with guests and locals devouring hearty meals and singing along with a piano and kazoo.
It’s also the scene of quiet mornings when I find a sunny spot to eat my breakfast of homemade cake, home-canned peaches, and delicious fresh cheeses, and watch little blond Swiss boys chase each other on the wooden dance floor set up outside.
Where is your ideal place to stay when you travel? Are you a hotel girl, a bed and breakfast man, or do you prefer pitching a tent in the back country?
(For more information on Casa Scaparone, visit their website here.)