Among the alleys of Navelli, a historic town in the Abruzzo hinterland overlooking the plain of the same name, known worldwide as the land of saffron, you find the B&B Sotto le Volte. This 17th century building, set among the grain-coloured stones of one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, has kept its age-old charm intact, thanks to the skilful work of Christel Jasperse, owner of the B&B. Irregular terracotta floors, polished antique stone stairs, vaulted ceilings in each room – hence the name – give this place a timeless beauty enclosed behind the elegant entrance door. The main staircase leads to the first floor, where a large living room, which welcomes guests for breakfast, merges with the inner courtyard, now covered with a glass wall. Along the staircase that leads up to the upper floors, the four large rooms, renovated and comfortable, wind through, each with its own peculiarities and each bearing the name derived from the use they were once intended for. After a pleasant sleep, in the morning the house is filled with the sweet scent of ferratelle and jams, prepared by Christel herself, which accompany a rich homemade breakfast, ideal for undertaking the many excursions that can be done here.
In addition to being a hospital mistress, Christel is also a great connoisseur of these places who strives to make them known to those who stop there, thus helping to weave an increasingly compact network of realities that work every day for the enhancement of the territory. A tenacious and combative Belgian-born woman, who lives in this corner of Abruzzo and, determined to share its beauty, receives and submerges visitors with an indefatigable passion. Cosy, genuine, cared for in all its details, this charming B&B is a refuge for passionate travellers, for mountain lovers, for those who want to experience a break from the hectic pace of everyday life and immerse themselves in the serenity of unspoiled nature, without losing the cultural and gastronomic richness of these places.
We are pleased to count today the B&B Sotto le Volte of Navelli among the Treasures of Italy 2019
It is not difficult to fall in love with this real world, its rough and sweet nature, to be lulled by the omnipresent tranquillity. In the summer of 1994, I arrived in Navelli to try the thrill of paragliding. One evening, wandering through the narrow alleys, I was intrigued by the austere façade of a large, battered house, wrapped in a bursting pride. It was love at first sight. I immediately noticed the large spaces and I imagined the comforting bustle of many future friends. Thus a first draft of my ambitious project was born. With enthusiasm, courage and a pinch of madness I have undertaken the work of recovery and restoration. In full respect of its originality and with a deep love for the skill found, I had given a new life to this wonderful architectural game.
At 760 meters above sea level embraced by the hill of San Nicola, Navelli overlooks the homonymous plateau. The ancient stones carved and superimposed wisely by its ancestors wear the houses in golden ochre. For centuries, he has faced the passing of the seasons with self-assurance. Protected in the embrace of the surrounding mountains, it still seems to live another era. Incredibly distant from the frenzy that dictates the rhythms of everyday life, Navelli has the ability to bring us back to an often forgotten reality, where nature, seasons and customs have been handed down for generations to mark the times in a genuine harmony and relaxing. Authenticity is the keystone of this humble and “rich” village in the Abruzzo hinterland, a treasure to be preserved and loved, with great respect for what it once was.
I was born in Belgium, in a quiet street and a spacious house and here I found a calm that was fundamental for me. In this rich florid plain of a myriad of agricultural and natural products, little known and far from mass trampling, I chose to live. Determined to share so much beauty, I opened the doors of my house and made it a B&B to which, given the characteristic vaulted ceilings in all the rooms, it was natural to give the name “Sotto le Volte” (Under the vaults). Here it is easy to feel close to the Earth, part of Nature. Waking up here is a joy, every day. You can listen to the whisper of the walls and warm up with the history they hold.
I will be happy to receive you, you are welcome.
Translated by Céline Alcala