And I left a piece of my heart behind. This was one of the most spiritually touching experiences I have ever encountered while traveling. The environment here with the centuries old restored stone house with very thick walls and fresh water coming from the mountains in the Majella National Park is one of the healthiest feeiings I have ever had. The owners have put great artistic and creative effort into maintaining the pristine nature of the house while enhancing it with modern conveniences that do not detract from but serve to enhance the simplicity of this old stone house. The furnishings and decor have been done in such a way to add a modern artistic flair but always maintaining the primary organic nature of the place with linen bedding and towels and clear glass light fixtures and shower surround. The gardens at this property offer much beauty as well. The owner of the property, Eda, is a descendant of the family who has owned and lived here for more than 3 centuries. On arrival we were offered drinks and fresh fruit in a covered outdoor living area and the owner and her husband sat and chatted with us at length, and even though the language barrier was a factor, it did not deter us from communicating. Eda seemed like someone I have known all of my life but have not seen in a very long time and the spirit of the place and surroundings summoned up some memories from somewhere deep inside me that I hope I will never lose. Her husband, Carmine, led us to the town of San Valentino for breakfast one morning and sat and communicated with us while sharing breakfast. It was delightful and we had the opportunity to learn about the environment and activities it supports from him like winter skiing. The house is part of an archeologic prehistoric site and there were archeologists not far from the house that were digging up pieces of the past on the hillside going steeply down into the ravine just across from the stone huts that are a museum. There are stone huts right on the property at Case Catalano which add to the spirit of the place. We met the scientists at dinner in Abbateggio one night and learned more of their research goals and findings. We then made a point to go and visit them at the site the next morning and talk with them some more. They were led by a pair of French scientists and the research team was multi-cultural. One can walk from Case Catalano all the way to the town of Caramanico Terme if you are ambitious, where there are thermal spas and a unique flavor of a bustling and popular Italian mountain town. There is a town in the mountains above the property on the way to Caraminico called Decontra which consists entirely of these old stone houses many of which are in need of restoration and offer potential. The road was isolated and beautiful under the mountains and we found ourselves peaceful and encountering people only in the town and at the research site. In the evening there is a special feeling in the air as you are some miles from other civilization and there are fireflies twinkling in the trees along the road as well as stars twinkling in the sky. We were told that during the winter you can see the tracks of wolves who live in the Park, and 2 species of deer, wild boar, and lynx can be sighted near the property. The fields surrounding the property were filled with meadow flowers and there were beautiful healthy horses grazing the fields and a bee farm along the gravel road. There are many other sites to visit near this property that are culturally and spiritually fulfilling. My husband and I fell in love with this place. Now back home, we treasure the thought that we were sent away with a piece of Eda's heart, and having left pieces of our own hearts there we will dream of going back to reunite with that part of us we left behind.
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