I had never heard of the town of Manoppello until June 2013 when I met Giulia Scappaticcio at a conference in Santo Stefano di Sessanio, high up in Abruzzo’s mountains, near L’Aquila. Giulia, the titolare (proprietor) of Casale Centurione Country House (a fine Bed and Breakfast establishment that lies on a fertile hill between Manoppello and Manoppello Scalo) is also a wife, a mother of three and a multilingual dynamo with a passion for customer service. Like others at the inaugural Let’s Blog Abruzzo conference, Giulia and I had joined locals and others with an interest in promoting Abruzzo as an Italian destination.
Abruzzo is unknown to many travellers, including many Italians, despite it having wonderful traditions, foods, historic sites and edifices, medieval hilltop villages, renaissance towns, major national parks and numerous regional parks… plus fabulous beaches, vineyards, olive groves and fields of ancient grains.
There is a bounty of charming accommodation and good food at every bend in the road, and no more so than at Casale Centurione Country House. Giulia provides accommodation in a renovated building from the 1800s – complete with beautiful vaulted ceilings in the large communal dining and relaxation area. The bedrooms are all equipped with comfortable beds and pillows, modern bathrooms and spectacular views.
I had the good fortune to visit Giulia twice within a month! My first visit coincided with a cooking class that Giulia was running for some guests from the Seattle, Washington in the US. I was invited to participate. The Seattleites, thankfully, didn’t mind me gate-crashing their session! I arrived late but joined the group for a walk around the property, viewing the different types of grapes (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Trebbiano) and wandering amongst the olive groves.
Then we got down to business making two types of pasta, chitarra and ravioli, some savoury ricotta-filled pastry parcels called fiadoni and some sweet biscuits called cantucci – all of which we got to enjoy after. Click to view a slideshow.
My next visit was in October with my husband, some of my sisters and their spouses, a niece, a nephew and a few old friends.
During our three night stay we took most of our meals at Casale Centurione. Breakfast was a great spread of both homemade cakes and savoury items like local cheeses and meats, plus bread, fruit, yoghurt, cereals and more. Fruit juice and freshly brewed coffee, hot water and warm milk were in jugs ready for us to help ourselves.
Giulia has a loyal group of helpers in the kitchen as well as her mother-in-law Francesca who helps her run the cooking classes.
Together with some of my Italian cousins, we did a similar cooking class to the one I’d done with the Seattleites, and made enough food for both lunch and dinner.
Giulia’s English is impeccable and together with Francesca she kept our large group engaged with having a hand at everything; rolling, kneading, filling, cutting and eventually eating the fruits of our labour. There were photos and videos and laughs galore for a few hours. Click away.
We had such a great weekend relaxing, walking around the countryside, laughing, eating, drinking and catching up with one another. Giulia was the most welcoming host of our unruly mob of old friends and family. Everyone felt as though they were truly at home.
There are two famous sites in the area that religious pilgrims visit and some of us made it to both: the church of the Volto Santo di Manoppello (church of the holy face of Manoppello) and the Abbey and Church of Santa Maria Arabona.
Besides her knowledge of the local region, Giulia was also able to offer us onward travel advice when it came time for us to leave. We didn’t want to leave, honestly, but the mountains and the coast were calling us…
To stay at Casale Centurione you can book through Air BnB. Search for Manoppello. Giulia has about six rooms listed. Alternatively, contact Giulia using the details below.
- phone [+39] 335 8257345 or [+39 ] 349 5394136
- Skype casalecenturioneabruzzo
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
- website http://www.casalecenturione.it/