When you visit ‘Menfishire’ for the first time, the view that jumps at you immediately is that of the gentle green hills that slope down towards the sea. At a second glance, small houses appear scattered about the dazzling green of these gentle hills, plunged in the middle of vineyards, olive groves, and reed thickets. Here they are, the country homes that witness a simple and healthy lifestyle, places where one can still rediscover the authentic values of the countryside today.
These delicious dwellings lie immersed in the greenery among olive, fig, mulberry, and almond trees, carobs and Mediterranean pines. Large olive trees with knotty trunks spread their shadow and offer a cool place to men and animals. Old wire gratings separate the ploughed fields from the vineyards and pasture land. At the centre or in the background, rural homes, strong and proud, almost seem to be there to control the farm.
An ancient wall often separates the house from the country road, with small iron gates installed as if to protect “enchanted gardens where you can just stretch your hand out and pick up figs, plums, almonds, apricots during the summer, mulberries and medlars during spring, and fragrant oranges, delicious tangerines, crispy apples and red pomegranates during winter. It is easy to let yourself be charmed by the scraped walls of climbing jasmine and wisteria, by the wood of window shutters and by the dazzling white of the concrete benches under the pergolas that fill the eyes with pleasure.
Country homes were built almost exclusively as working places, where the farmers mainly used to go to care of the harvest. Peasants wake up at dawn and reach their holdings where the home is essentially a storage place for their work tools and equipment, tractors, ladders, baskets and shears, carts and wagons for grape harvest. But the home is also the safe harbour where one can rest with his family and friends after the hard work in the fields: from here the view on the countryside is extremely relaxing, with goats and sheep grazing everywhere to give such a pleasant and tranquil picture.
There is not much furniture in these homes: almost all recycled, vintage pieces, and indoor, but mostly outdoor, chairs, laydown chairs and a few hammocks to invite for a nap in post-lunch idleness. A substantial difference between any house and a country house is the importance of shared spaces. Here, in fact, people live more together and close to each other; this is why there is always a very large space for sharing, inside and outside, to ensure conviviality, as in a sort of sitting-room in the open-air, in a slow and relaxed atmosphere.
With the precise intention of recovering and sharing the true values of the rural life of the territory and its human community, Mandrarossa set up a unique, original and authentic hospitality system based on the ways farming communities have always had to welcome visitors in their homes: having meals together with the family, eating the simple daily dishes of the local tradition. This is a new way of experiencing a holiday, where you can treat yourself – whenever you need to – with a break in the countryside and live your time as an emotional event rich in experience.
Your desire to reappraise the values of Nature, the pleasures of life in the fields, and recover a fundamental heritage for human equilibrium will be satisfied here, where you can enjoy the proverbial hospitality and openness of country people, friendly places, spaces for strengthening and regenerating in tranquillity and relax. One of the most beautiful country homes is Casa Natoli, located in contrada Bertolino, a beautiful baglio built in 1830, a typical example of a country house. Today it is the headquarters of Cucina Mandrarossa, with enchanting frescoes inside, a large stone paved courtyard and the floretta, a garden populated with century-old shrub and palm trees.
Here Mandrarossa organizes a School of Country Cooking, tasting tours, wine and food workshops using the local products.During tasting tours visitors will have the opportunity to appreciate the Mandrarossa wines produced with grapes grown in the areas that bear the same name: Bonera, blends of Nero d’Avola and Cabernet Franc, where autochthonous and international vines are combined to create an intense and soft red wine; Timperosse, which draws its name from the reddish colour of the land, called timpa in the local dialect; a varietal Petit Verdot characterized by intense scent of ripe red fruits; Urra di Mare, a fresh and aromatic varietal Sauvignon Blanc, a white wine with a particularly evocative name that carries inside all the salinity of the soils where the vine was grown and deepens its roots; Santannella, an aromatic, complex and balanced wine obtained as a result of careful experiments in the vineyard, a fascinating blend of white grape cultivars such as Fiano and Chenin Blanc; Cavadiserpe, from Nero d’Avola and Alicante Bouschet red grapes that have been combined to create a pleasant and harmonic red wine with a strong personality and persistent scents.
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