We found Casa La Rocca in January 2007 – habitable but in need of some serious renovation. Luckily the adjoining vineyard, orchard and field were available too. Unable to resist the charm of the place and the wonderful views, we took the plunge. The biggest project of our lives was underway…
The original building, dating from about 1600, was probably a large fortified farmhouse with vaulted animal stables and barns on the ground floor and living rooms above. Topping this was a small tower and pigeon loft. A recycled beam still acts as a tie in the loft space. It was the main farm in the area and evidently a grand place in its heydey but, by the middle of the last century, little was left but a few walls and lots of stone.
Around about 1970 the ruins were repaired and Casa La Rocca was effectively rebuilt and extended to its present size and form. Little remains of the original building – just the walls and vaulted ceiling of the sitting room. These walls, though, are three feet thick keeping us cool during the summer and warm in the winter!
We have modernised and converted the house into a family home and an independent apartment (which can also be a part of the house). We wanted not only to share it with family and friends, but also to be able to offer self-catered accommodation to people coming to explore the rich natural history and spectacular environment on our doorstep.
The vineyard produces about 300 litres of organic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo a year, the orchard is being rejuvenated and outbuildings, a herb garden and vegetable plots have been added. Landscaping, with new hedges and trees planted out on the land, has been undertaken and the irrigation system has been improved.
In 2009 we started our holiday accommodation business and in 2011 Cicerone published our guidebook, Walking in Abruzzo. Apartment letting has steadily built up to the successful and established venture it is today, with a particular appeal to walkers and mountain lovers. All is ready for further development of a walking holidays and / or country retreat business.
We are Hilary and Stuart, from Bristol in the UK. We bought Casa La Rocca to develop a home and business to take us into our retirement. Our large family, back in the UK, is now growing and we feel the time is right for us to return to be more on hand. Our lives have been considerably enriched by the creation of Casa La Rocca and by our years in Abruzzo; we will move on with the most wonderful memories and the satisfaction of leaving it in good hands!