The Villa dei Vescovi in “my” hills has to be the most beautiful villa in the world. It is pre-Palladian, in a perfect setting with all the best ingredients of an Italian villa: frescoes, antique furniture, glorious views, two loggias where you can sit and pretend you live there…
On my last visit some men were putting out chairs and a a grand piano was being tuned. Was there a concert? Typically, I’d seen no advance publicity for it, yet in view of how special it was, they could have sold hundreds of tickets. I asked about the programme. Brahms, he thought, but they couldn’t find any further information, so we booked anyway and returned at 8.30.
It looked magical. All the steps were lit by candles and the front loggia was laid out for prosecco or soft drinks, trays of prosciutto and cheeses before the performance. The Italians in the know were dressed for the occasion, and we filed in to the main hall for a performance by clarinet, cello and piano. (World class players from the Amsterdam Concertgebow). More prosecco at the interval, and an announcement at the end that desserts were awaiting us in the grand dining room, with yet more prosecco. (Pity I had to drive back.) The table was spread with more dishes that could be counted, all delicious.
The evening air was still warm at 11pm when we left, feeling very smug to have discovered this event when in Venice not far away there would be the ususal tawdry rendering of The Four Seasons.