Just over an hour and a half from Naples, we found ourselves immersed in a Green Paradise, La Piana dei Mulini.
Piana dei Mulini is a historic stone residence, surrounded by greenery, near a river, which was born in the late 1700s as a small hamlet.
It is located within the Biferno River Park in Colle d’Anchise (we are in Campobasso, Molise). Before there were the mills, later it became a hydroelectric power station and then, in the 70s, it ended up being abandoned. Luckily in the late 90’s Michele Lucarelli turned those ruins into something unique. Preserving the territory and in the perspective of slow tourism, it has created an Albergo Diffuso, an old residence with 12 rooms and a restaurant that offer the products of the Molise territory.
But let’s go talk a bit about geography. We are on the plain at about 7 Km from Bojano at the foot of Matese. In the center of Molise. That’s where this beautiful green accommodation rise. Well-kept rooms, rich breakfast, an eye for sustainability (flow reducers, organic products, recycled paper), local produce and attention to seasonality and biodiversity.
We got there after turning off the PC and logged out in the office. There was a refreshing silence. Michele welcomed us with a friendly smile and accommodated us in one of the rooms of the property, which overlooks the river.
At dinner, in the company of two other friends, we ate homemade meats and cheese with jam and honey, excellent pasta, tasty meat. Michele’s idea is to bring life back to this territory, “retrieving ancient traditions“. When he talks about it, he does not do so on behalf of his guesthouse or the restaurant where they celebrate also weddings, but on behalf of Molise, of all southern Italy.
Molise, usually outside the tourist itineraries, could be the place of relax par excellence, where to unplug, much better than a spa. And so, with a team of collaborators who are heterogeneous and passionate like him, since 2002 he has started his own project of slow tourism, cuddling all his clients.
In front of the accommodation there’s a huge garden, all around there are trees, birds, clear sky and pure air. The next day we went in Torella for the Transhumance Feast. Another unique activity: is the only and last transhumance that is still being done in Europe, and therefore in the world. In order to realize it, the Colantuono family takes the cows from the Puglia to Molise, for a total of four days of travel. And, passing through Torella, a large buffet is organized with typical products from the D’Alessandro farm. After having eaten and chatting, the herd, accompanied by the shepherds, moves along the ancient “tratturo” and crosses other towns, including Frosolone. This tradition has been going on for five generations and on the horses there are the children who will continue to do it.
Frosolone is another very characteristic town, it is among the 100 most beautiful villages in Italy and it truly deserves this title. We visited the streets of the center, the museum of sharp irons (Frosolone is one of the most important centers of Italy for craftsmanship of knives) and saw again the passing cows, this time right in the City center. What an experience!
After the transhumance, we returned to the Piana dei Mulini. So we could get to know more about Michele’s passion and his staff. Attention to the land, for the producers of the territory, the desire to network and rediscover these places are the main ingredients of the accommodation’s offer. In the splendid arcade room of his restaurant we have traced all the steps of this small, great success. Every person is special, deserves a smile, an attention. By doing this, Michele makes you rediscover Molise and its organic products. And the pleasure of being together, of looking into eachother eyes and not the cell phone display. It seems despicable, but in these times it seems like a brave and counter-tendency.
Congratulations to Piana dei Mulini, a true green paradise for lovers of sustainable tourism.