We have traveled many times to Italy and seen many beautiful cities, but Castiglione del Lago really stands out as a magical, almost fairy tale like in its vibe, with a real castle to boot! The first thing you notice is the majestic castle that is in the center of this little town overlooking a beautiful lake and situated outside of Perugia, Italy. Just getting the pronunciation correct in saying Castiglione del Lago gives you the sense you are really in the heart of Italy. This city is in the region of Umbria, known for some of the best Italian wines.
Castiglione del Lago immediately felt like home to us when we met third generation native, Mario Barbini who welcomed us with open arms into his beautifully restored 500 year old Palazzo Barbini apartments. Our two bedroom apartment was spacious, charming and had a beautiful view of the city and a private terrace. It also had the cutest kitchen that I was dying to cook in, but we were kept so busy with amazing dinners and lunches that I simply didn’t have time! Ronn went to Castiglione del Lago to prepare the songs he would be doing for his first ever Italian music tour set for summer 2019. The music director lives in Castiglione del Lago and so we needed to be near his studio to go over all the music for the tour production, which required daily recordings and computer insertions for the video editor to coordinate and for the band to prepare to rehearse later next month with Ronn.
However, it didn’t feel like work at all for Ronn because we were having such a great time in between his creative process. The two weeks spent in Castiglione del Lago flew by and will forever be ingrained in our minds as one of the most special and unique places we have visited. We also took some time to visit another charming city nearby called, Assisi before checking out the seaside of Abruzzo. Ronn made some rare personal appearances in these areas to meet with as many fans as possible and to check out possible venues for the tour. It’s hard to believe we have now been in Europe for two months as this time has flown by so fast, and we are now relaxing in our beautiful Rome Loft situated in the center of Rome. We can’t recommend this place enough for anyone traveling to see the sights of Rome, as its a perfect location to walk just about everywhere. We will now head to Belgium for a few appearances and preparation with Ronn’s “Bad and Beautiful” band for the next couple weeks before heading back to Italy for band rehearsals and more surprises to share later!
We left Roma for the quiet of the countryside a couple of days ago and went to spend some time in the ancient 1000 year old castle of designer Laura Biagiotti. It sits on 444 acres that includes it’s own amazing golf course. After having lunch with Lavinia Biaigotti, we play a game of 9 holes on the green. Lavinia got a hole in one on the first hole and thus a competition started with Ronn to see who would win. Lavinia got a hole in one on the 9th hole and thus won! I’ll post some funny video of it later. The girls got a private golf lesson and drove the golf carts around, while I went back to the castle to study some more Italian. Then we were introduced to the Italian Easter tradition of breaking giant chocolate eggs for a surprise inside. Unlike easter baskets filled with jelly beans and colored eggs, everyone gives their friends and family a giant chocolate egg with just about anything you can imagine inside. We had fun with this process and the girls got little necklaces. Ronn got a little box that he put some beautiful gold earrings in, a gift from Laura. It was sad to say goodbye to everyone at the castle and journey on by train to Florence. Ronn wanted to introduce Michelangelo’s “David” to the girls. Even though I had seen it before, the 17 foot tall statue never ceases to impress. I think Ronn looks alot like the David now that he’s in such great shape from dancing. We then met Sara Di Vaira and her husband who took us to a little town called,” Buti” near Pisa. We had the most amazing Tuscan dinner on Good Friday. Fresh mussels, clams and squid, pasta ravioli with truffle sauce, spaghetti with rabbit and penne pasta. Then Ronn and I had a bottle of champagne waiting for us in our hotel room, so we had to celebrate going to see the leaning tower of Pisa today. We will continue on through the beautiful Tuscan countryside and visit some vineyards, including the Di Vaira winery and spend Easter with Sara’s family. Hope you all are having a wonderful Easter weekend. Will post more pics and video later.
Susan Flannery organized a beautiful wedding supper to celebrate our recent nuptials at the gorgeous Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. It was held in the private dining room off of the elaborate kitchen and guests included, John McCook and his lovely wife Laurette, Ian Buchanan, Katherine Kelly Lang and her husband Alex, Maria and Billy Bell and our gracious host Brad Bell and his wife Colleen. The menu was absolutely amazing and the private chef told us about each course before their presentation. We ended the evening wedding cake and more champagne. We have certainly had our share of that in the past few weeks, hahaha. Since this is Ronn’s second family, we were, needless to say, thrilled and grateful for this amazing opportunity to share our joy with them. Here is a clip of the evening.
After having some amazing tastings in the chateaus of LaGrange, Margaux and Lynch Bages in the Medoc region of Bordeaux and then experiencing some chateaus of the St. Emilion region, home of Petrus. Ronn was fascinated with the wine education he had and found we both loved the older wines from the Medoc, but still appreciated the Merlot blends of St. Emilion just as much. We bought a few bottles to keep for the future, as well as a few to drink now. 2005 was a great year for all of Bordeaux and we fell in love with LaGrange and savored a bottle in our room while catching up on emails in our lovely room we had in this 18th century chateau. So I can safely say, Ronn is very relaxed now and loving France. We both want to learn French and can’t wait to go to Loire Valley, which is so beautiful today. We will stay in another 18th century chateau and visit one more vineyard today there before returning on Friday for our final day in Paris. Then it’s back home on Saturday. So far this has been an amazing trip. We have shot lots of video and we are organizing the clips together for an edited DVD to share soon. Will try to take more pics to post later.
After a grueling week of press and gala functions, Ronn was ready for a much needed vacation. The last press interview was in Amsterdam. We had a wonderful time in Amsterdam and visited with a long time friend of Ronn’s, Amanda. Amanda and some of her friends took us to dinner and we got to experience herring, which is very popular. A stop in the red light district was funny when Ronn would walk by windows of girls recognizing him. I checked out the coffee shops and we both admired the beauty of this amazing city. Ronn and I both would love to see Player kick off a European tour in Amsterdam. Paris has always been one of my favorite cities. It had a been a while since I’d been there, over 10 years to be exact, so I figured what better place to visit with Ronn, especially since he informed me that he had only been there twice and didn’t really remember much about it.They say, you should only go to Paris with someone you love, so it was great to share walking the stairs of the Eiffel tower and shopping on the Champs’ Elysee’. We both love red wines and since I’d been to Bordeaux before and found the train ride from Paris to Bordeaux to be quite pleasant; I suggested this as a good alternative the tremendous amount of driving Ronn does daily. He was so relaxed, he slept the entire three hour train ride! We are staying in a private 1780 Chateau that is ironically owned by a Dutch family. It is so relaxing, beautiful and peaceful and we were greeted with a wonderful bottle of wine and cheese to kick start our day tomorrow of wine tastings in some of the best regions.
Okay we started this blog to express ourselves more often about a variety of things. We are excited to announce the opening of our new DevRonn store with an amazing variety of merchandise. There are T-shirts, hats, stickers, coffee mugs, wall clocks, doggy bowls, journals, aprons, jogging outfits and even infant clothing available at our store Ronn and I are so excited to visit New Orleans in April. It will be my first visit back there in over a decade. I’m so looking forward to some great Cajun gumbo and crawfish. So if you haven’t checked out our site or tried “Devin’s Kickass Cajun Seasoning” now is the time. We promise you won’t be disappointed and know that every purchase of our products is helping the great city of New Orleans rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.