I thought I’d take a moment to answer some questions about how things work living in a small town.
Living in a small town like Bettona is pretty wonderful and I’m happy to share it with you. The Bettonese, as we are called, are genuinely nice people (with a few exceptions) and most, unlike in other parts of Italy, will greet you with a smile and a “Buongiorno.” They are happy to see guests, and you are their guests, walking around appreciating their beautiful town.
• Since parking is one of the most contentious things about living in a small town, I ask guests to park outside the walls once they’ve unloaded their bags. Even if you find a spot in the main piazza, there just aren’t enough spaces for the residents so I ask guests to park beneath the palazzo, just outside the wall. It’s easy.
• We recycle most everything at the palazzo so guests need to be aware that they will need to participate. Bins are located at the main entrance to the palazzo and marked. It’s best to not wait until the last day of your stay as I will be putting things out every evening. Please rinse all bottles and cans and not recycle dirty items. Organic materials, including bones, meat, pits, etc. are compostable here and should be placed in the appropriate bucket in your kitchen. The compost bucket should always be lined with a plastic bag because the recycling people will not take them otherwise. Those buckets go out on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights. But I’ll be there to talk to you about it.
• ATTENTION: One of my biggest concerns is making sure the dogs don’t get out of the palazzo. Please pay attention as they are shorter than you are and often quite sneaky. (Well, Puccini is anyway.) Please pay attention and mind the doors. Please, please, please don’t ever leave the front door open because you’re coming right back and don’t want to carry your key. Much appreciated.
When you arrive your apartment or B&B room will be ready for you. The linens and towels are fresh and soft and you will be very comfortable. For a week stay, guests are provided one set of linens and towels. Laundry is a big thing to do in Italy and not something I want to do every day, so:
• Please only use the towels given.
• Additional towels found in the apartments can be used if you are willing to pay a fee;
• Similarly, there is a fee if you would like me to change the beds during your stay;
• Please don’t leave wet towels on the furniture, floor, or on the beds. (This is a no-brainer but something many guests don’t seem to think about. I doubt one would put a wet towel on a wooden bed at their house but, even if you do, I ask that you not do it at mine. I just don’t know how to say this any nicer.)
• Laundry: I know you’re traveling and often would like to do a load of laundry. The fee is 5euro per wash. In Italy laundry is hung to dry. There are racks on the piano nobile or in your apartment. For towels and some other things I will fluff them in the dryer when they are almost completely dry.
• Breakfast is included in the price of the B&B room. Remembering that we are in Italy, by breakfast we mean coffee/cappuccino and a dolce. But knowing most of my guests are American, I usually provide yogurt, cereal, fresh fruit, toast, and juice in some combination. Breakfast is normally between 8:30 and 9:30. Please remember it is not a buffet and I’m not providing lunch.
• However, lunch can be provided, in the kitchen or on the terrace off the kitchen, for $15 for a normal two course meal including wine and water.
• Dinners can be provided most nights with notice. I am always happy to cook and will do my best to be available should you want me to.
• Welcome dinners: Most guests like to have a meal in the night they arrive. It gives us a chance to talk about what you’d like to see on your visit to Umbria and for me to offer suggestions and advice. Dinners cost 25euro and consist of antipasti, a primi, a secondo, and dessert. We can talk about the menu. Please let me know if you have any dietary issues and I will work around them.
• Gluten free: It’s no problem for me to get gluten free pasta as long as I know in advance.
• If you don’t eat pork: Let me know and I will gladly cook something else.
• Lactose intolerant: There are many delicious sheep (pecorino) cheese options in Umbria. We’re known for them. Goat cheeses can be found but give me some warning.
• Vegetarian & Vegan: I am happy to make vegetarian and vegan options so let me know.
Around the Palazzo:
• If you smoke, please don’t do it in the apartments. I will know. If you must, please use the terrace.
• Please respect the palazzo because it is my home.
On group tours, my goal is to treat everyone equally. Not easy given that many people have issues that are out of their control. However, many things can and should be a little more in guests’ control.
• Food needs: If you need to eat something special it might be a good idea to bring it with you or stop and buy it. It’s no problem for me to get gluten free pasta as long as I know in advance so please talk to me. Gluten free bread is also available.
• Breakfasts: Cereal, fruit, yogurt, toast and jam, juices and coffee are available at the palazzo most mornings. You need to make sure you allow time if we’re heading out early. Alternately, you are welcome to go to the bar for that special coffee, cappuccino, and dolce. I will pay the bar owner later. (But that’s one coffee and dolce each. Second and third cups are on you.)
• If you don’t eat pork, there will always be other options available and usually only one dish will be off your list. You’d obviously avoid the meat on the antipasti plate and enjoy instead the selection of cheeses. If you’re lactose intolerant, there will always be a sheep cheese option. None of it is difficult but I need to know in advance.
• Have no fear, there will always enough food for you to eat.
• If you have dry skin and need a fresh washcloth everyday, it might be a good idea to bring some extra.
• If you have motion sickness, it might not always be possible to sit in the front seat. Bring some medication.
• My motto is “The squeaky wheel doesn’t get something else just because it’s squeaking all the time;