In Carpesica, in the hills of Vittorio Veneto, a bucolic 19th-century farmhouse has been transformed into a charming relais overlooking the vineyards, where everything is inspired by the characters from the Alice in Wonderland book.
Metaphors included. Indeed, if in Alice’s world “nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t”, even Alice is not, in fact, Alice. The name of the relais is, in fact, a tribute to Alice Secchi Cosmo, grandmother of the current owner, who was a great example and inspiration in the creation of this little paradise among the Prosecco hills.
The late 19th-century farmhouse that now houses the relais was born, in fact, as a country cottage of the Cosmo family, once used as a shelter for tools and breeding of silkworms. At the beginning of 2000, the architect Luciano Cosmo, together with his brothers, also the owners of the nearby Bellenda winery, decided to renovate it and give life to a hospitality business.
Oh, Kitty! How nice it would be if we could only get through into Looking-glass House! I’m sure it’s got, oh! such beautiful things in it!
Thus Alice Relais nelle Vigne opened in 2003 and, right from the start, Pier Francesca Bonicelli, an oenologist with the hobby of interior design and wife to Luigi Cosmo, was strongly passionate about the project. She began to restore vintage furniture purchased in India by her brother-in-law, wandering around flea markets and attics, and slowly the project started to take shape, with the idea of playing with the name “Alice” and the characters from the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a masterpiece of English literature written in 1865 by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll.
The plot tells, in fact, of a girl named Alice who falls through a rabbit hole into an enchanted world populated by fantastic creatures. It is therefore easy to find similarities with this romantic farmhouse surrounded by meadows and vineyards inhabited by hares, foxes and roe deer, and a panoramic view that ranges from the nearby church of San Daniele to Cansiglio and Monte Visentin.
How long is forever? Sometimes just one second.
Pier Francesca’s passion, therefore, led her, over time, to dedicate each of the 8 spacious rooms overlooking the vineyards to as many characters from the book: Alice, White Rabbit, Brucaliffo, Mad Hatter, Pinco Panco, White Queen, Queen of Hearts, and the Cheshire Cat. Even all the common areas, from the breakfast room to the “traveller’s” library lounge, are decorated with furniture and objects that recall scenes from the literary work, from clocks to hearts, from hourglasses to chessboards, without obviously forgetting the mirrors of which the relais holds a veritable collection.
The breakfast ritual is just wonderful, inspired by the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, a “mad tea table” laden with “mismatched” plates and teapots of every shape and colour. Thus, among silver plates and porcelain signed “Alice Relais nelle Vigne”, a fantastic selection of homemade sweet and savory products awaits you, including bread, cakes, jams and yoghurt, or from local realities such as the cheeses from the Cansiglio mountain pastures and organic artisan cured meats, with a wide range of products also vegan and gluten-free.
A ritual that is renewed every morning, in winter in the intimate breakfast room, warmed by a beautiful majolic-decorated stube, and in summer in the wonderful patio in front of the farmhouse surrounded by flowers of all kinds and a wonderful view of the greenery.
In addition to breakfast, there are so many “treats” with which Pier Francesca, always present in what is for her a second home, will be able to spoil you, from the welcome glass of Prosecco, to being able to organize picnics for you among the vineyards, up to wine tastings in the family’s historic Bellenda winery and bike rides.
So pay attention to the departure, because you could “just open your eyes to return to the faded reality without the imagination of adults.”
Although Alice in Wonderland is known globally as a children’s book, Carroll made it a masterpiece of puns, figures of speech, and proverbs with constant references to English culture. This is why the work is arduous to translate, so much so that each version represents an actual book itself. Over the years Pier Francesca has collected various translations and editions, many of which, like the Japanese one, have been given to her by guests from all over the world.