In mid April I finally flew back to Bella Italia accompanied by our friend Kay, who had decided to fit in a week’s stay at “Tre Cancelle”.  Feeling happier that things had settled down in the UK, it was good to once again set foot on Italian soil.

In my absence Paul had been staying on his own at TC , keen to take care of the dogs and get lots of work done in and around the house and olive groves.

One evening we were  invited to Luigi and Ornella’s house for supper. They had kindly bought a little present for Kay.

Kay especially enjoyed her drop of Prosecco !!!

After the meal “Luigiiiiiiiiiiiii” dug out his old guitar and we shared a very jolly serata in such excellent company.

During her stay Kay helped out with a few jobs, such as preparing the pool.  Sadly the weather was not quite warm enough for her to have a dip.

At the end of her week Kay had to fly back home,  but was to return again just six weeks later with another friend, Elsie, one of the Belly-dancing group.  Kay has by far been our most frequent guest at “Tre Cancelle”.  She had come over last year in July, then again in November with the “Welsh Girls” (to help with the olive harvest) and again at Christmas with daughter Kirsten, and Elsie.

During this trip Elsie was very keen to visit the Giardini di Ninfa as their stay coincided with one of the garden’s open days.  We suggested first stopping off at Sermoneta, a picturesque medieval town set high on the edge of the Monti Lepini.

The majestic well-preserved castle dominates the town which is enclosed by formidable fortified walls of limestone.

Sermoneta  is a maze of narrow, winding cobbled streets, alleyways and steep flights of stairs.

The town still retains much of its medieval charm with its characteristic Loggia dei Mercanti or old Town Hall in the central square.

At the heart of Sermoneta is the 13th century beautiful Romanesque Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo.

From Sermoneta there are magnificent views across the Pontine Plain to the sea.

In the afternoon we headed back down hill to find the Giardini di Ninfa.  This was to be my second visit, the first having been in 2010, see my previous Blog entry: 

http://trecancelle.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/93-the-gardens-of-ninfa/

Ninfa is a real treasure – a haven of natural beauty and tranquility and a photographer’s paradise. You can read all about Ninfa and its history at my website:  The Gardens of Ninfa

Being early June many roses were in full bloom.

My favourite area is down by the gently flowing river.

More about the fascinating Medieval town of Sermoneta:

http://sermoneta.shapcott-family.com

More about the magical Gardens of Ninfa:

http://ninfa.shapcott-family.com

Closeby to Sermoneta and Ninfa is the clifftop town of

Norma

 http://norma.shapcott-family.com

and the Cistercian  Valvisciolo Abbey

 http://norma.shapcott-family.com/page7.html

which also definitely merit a visit.

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