A WONDERFUL NATURE PREPARED IT AND WE WANT TO SHARE IT WITH YOU
The whole estate is nestled in the hills. The district is known as “Chiazza” (Square) not by chance nor just to keep the tradition but because it is the right name: it is a scene where you can move and reap the jewels of Nature or simply admire everything you can see just glancing around, up to that blue sea horizon.
“Borgo Piazza” is located in the land of Calabria, like a stage with an always open curtain.
No outrage to the surrounding nature but steady and loving care ensures the Borgo a unique, quiet and environment friendly habitat.
A soft well-being better than a sophisticated SPA.
You will find an internal road network that extends for 25 km, in paths which can be crossed in the pleasant shadows of the woods of Aleppo pines, oaks, locust, eucalyptus, with the marvelous sea view of the Gulf of Squillace.
Paths to be covered slowly and following the traces of the fox, of the badger, of the wild boar, in the scent of wild honey or orange blossom, and natural plants of rosemary, sage, oregano, sunflowers, wildflowers, synergistic vegetable gardens; paths to be crossed trying to savor sounds and silences, far from all human noise, even though the city is there at your doorstep…
The hospitality is ensured in comfortable accommodations in the restored nineteenth-century farmhouse rooms or in new elegant studios, in independent apartments or in villas with exclusive stunning views. You can also find a camping area or enjoy healthy traditional food at our restaurant. We take care of you!
Giuseppe, “Peppino”, Ponterio, entrepreneur in procurement and services for the State Railways, began his adventure in the world of tourism hospitality in 1966. He was accompanied by his wife Elda who has always supported his adventures. He imagined and built the beautiful Blanca Cruz Village on the sea of Caminia Bay with an original entrance into the market.
In 1983, thanks to his foresight, he bought the estate of ”Poggio Santo Regno” (that means Holy Kingdom) in Contrada Piazza, to devote himself to a different tourism, deeper and more conscious, as a poem of Calabrian traditions. The idea of transmitting and also sharing a part of himself, his several experiences in the natural environment, inspired the first interventions in the Estate: reforesting where it was bare ground, leaving intact the pieces of Mediterranean maquis with Myrtle, Strawberry Tree, Ginestra, with an assortment of wild edible and non edible green species, and many other ornamentation and safety works. To imagine what the estate was at the beginning, you can just watch its borders: irregular rugged hills, angular offshoots of Calabria overlooking the Ionian Sea… a wild nature to love and respect. As the founder recalled, only by respecting it you could shape and ‘humanized’ it.
Peppino Ponterio used to tell: “When I came here, there was just some great Olive trees completely enveloped in the brambles, tormented, wild, impenetrable hills, thickets of ancient oaks, holm oaks and cork oaks, eucalyptus that used to go to fire every year… “.
But he saw something on those hills: their embracing the Gulf of Squillace, where first the Greeks, then the Romans, and then many others loved to settle their home, it immediately seduced Giuseppe and his dreamer soul; and like them he decided, together with his wife, to make of it, first of all, his home.
Major investments were needed for the global transformation of the place and the farm, but the greatest push came from the will of Peppino who conquered the agricultural professionalism day after day by listening to expert advice, and mostly experimenting with passion and a deep respect for the Identity of the Places. Nowadays, speaking of “Genius Loci” can appear anachronistic, but here the place and the people made it possible. And he immediately realized it.
He did not count the cubic meters of earth relocated, the moving machines used, the hours nor the money spent on all this, indeed Giuseppe proudly said: “I am sure I have achieved more with 4 workers in 12 years than with hundreds of employees in all the other activities I have carried out for 40 years! “.
In 2004 he decided to sell the village Blanca Cruz, he kept for himself only some residences and he entirely devoted himself to the dream of his life: Borgo Piazza.
At that point, from the original nucleus of the farmhouse with 12 beds, Borgo Piazza has gradually expanded to become what it is today: a small, human-sized Oasis that awaits only you.
PEPPINO PONTERIO, THE MAN
“Among many memories, there were also some good dreams. Many different ones did not come true, but still it was nice to have them. It’s now necessary to think about today’s dreams, trusting that spring always comes back, and the world, then, appears as new to you. You are not old until regrets take the place of dreams. “
He was eighty when he wrote this. But who was Peppino Ponterio in his everyday life? He was not a perfect man (do they really exist?); there was one thing, however, that made him special for anyone who met him: The Work! through the tireless and creative spirit he sank every minute of his life.
He was born for this; his hands were his most authentic emblem: they could do everything and couldn’t lie, callused hands like a blacksmith with 50 years of work behind him. He used to file those calluses every evening with rolls of sandpaper, arousing the benevolent irritation of his wife Elda, who could not stand that noise at the end of the day, in front of the fireplace and a bit of television.
You can say he has always worked, since childhood, following in his father’s footsteps, up to the age of 21 when he left his graduated studies and decided to devote himself totally to work. And he never stopped.
He was like this: he lived to be active, to design, to create, to build… whatever it was. The main thing was to be on the move.
Thanks to his wonderful innate passion for drawing and planning, combined with 3 years of Civil Engineering and a second Diploma in Surveyor, he was able to literally design all his ‘creations’ by himself. Peppino wrote with a little gloom:
“I am convinced that we leave invisible traces on every piece of furniture, on every wall of the house where we grew up. The light has projected our portrait for years in those points where we usually stop or pass with more frequency. And something of us, in those points, must have still remained … “
We like to think that in fact a lot has remained, that in Borgo Piazza every stone, every arch, every view, every path speaks of him and of his hands that designed them. Here is where he expressed and materialized all his love for Life!
Peppino Ponterio died at 84 (in 2015) while driving an excavator; at that moment the dream was our vineyard overlooking the sea, then completed, and today one of the pearls of the Borgo. The vehicle overturned and he was crushed by it. A tragic death indeed, but by far the best he could ever have wished for: on his feet, at work, with his workers! On the move in pursuit of his dreams. This was the man.
Mrs. Elda married Peppino when she was 19; she shared his joys and sorrows until the end, and they bore each other and with each other for a lifetime. In almost 60 years of marriage, it hasn’t always been idyllic, but a deep love bound them from the beginning. A whole life made of honors and lightheartedness, together with moments of great tension as in any family; but that love, that respect, that loyalty, have never been broken. A life also made up of many moments of ‘play’ and kindly bickering: once Elda tried in vain to stop Peppino from eating his 30th mandarin in front of the fireplace, for the simple fact that he had diabetes at dangerously sensitive levels.
After managing the Blanca Cruz together in its early years (60s / 70s), Mrs Elda assumed direct control of it, independently, and managed it on the front line, together with her daughters, until its sale in 2004. At that time it was not usual to see a “woman in charge” in the entrepreneurial field; with grace, kindness but also with the right resolve, Elda showed she knew how to do it. For first, she spontaneously revealed the family vocation to hospitality that was born from the ‘Blanca’, and then evolved into the same ‘Blanca’ and then to Borgo Piazza.
Her kind authority made her an esteemed and respected woman: “The butter and steel Female Manager”, as some of her friends often used to name her, with an affectionate smile. Actually, despite the demanding work commitments, Elda never renounced welcoming the guests of the Village, or her many friends, in the Terrace at Blanca, also called La Terrazza Martini, the terrace of the manor house facing the sea of Caminia. In that always beautiful and still available place, every lunch, dinner and chat has sculpted her memories and her guests’ ones. And that’s where she showed with sweetness and pride one of her talents: the culinary art!
Her pies, risottos, homemade jams and all her secret recipes today can still be relived, smelled and tasted, in the kitchen of Borgo Piazza, where our staff members have inherited its rich and precious tradition. A delicacy above all? Her legendary lemon tart of which recipe Elda is extremely jealous; even with it, someone still wonders why the results are far from the original. Maybe because it wasn’t all the recipe? She has never ‘confessed’, but the doubt remains…
Today Mrs. Elda is 82 years old, and she is the guardian of our memory and our history. She is our Great Mother, and with her touch and her ancient wisdom, she still contributes to make special not only the cuisine, but all the experiences that can be lived at the Borgo.
Mrs Elda, Donatella Ponterio, Marco Marcello Ponterio, Elvira Ponterio
Flavio, Cristiana and her husband Thierry
Paolo Ferrero Ponterio
When Peppino passed away, his legacy was collected by his wife Elda, flanked by his daughters and grandchildren, who started a new business path. It is often said it is complicated to start from “zero”, but this is the case that demonstrates how starting from “one” is even more so. Gathering and “reinventing” the company, harmonizing the spirit of the founder with the “new” energies, all this has always represented, and still represents, a continuous and fascinating adventure that deserves to be lived and told.
Donatella and Elvira, the two elder daughters, have always worked in the field of personal assistance, with children and in social issues and they are the bearers of a part of the father’s dream, who wanted the Borgo as an Integrated Center for the well-being of the individual, in alignment with the statute of the Paolo Ponterio Foundation. The Foundation was set up in memory of Paolo, Giuseppe and Elda’s young son, who died prematurely, and it is the owner of the estate on which the agritourism stand: among its aims, there is also that of preserving, enhancing and transmitting the world and the tradition of our ancient peasant civilization, inextricably linked to a balanced natural environment.
Donatella is a psychologist and supervises the Wellness Area of the farm, where she also created an “office in nature” to integrate her profession with the family run business. She offers to all guests, on request, complete stress check-up services to encourage, during their holidays, a re-connection with themselves also through meditation activities in nature, in contact with the ancient trees and their wisdom. Like her mother, she has a strong and innovative entrepreneurial spirit and a high sense of welcome and hospitality.
Elvira is an educator with twenty years of experience in kindergarten and she is now responsible for the educational services of the Borgo Piazza Educational Farm; her long-life training in this sector and a deep love for children have favored the renewal of educational programs and the introduction of an innovative experimental learning method that is offered to all schools in the area. She inherited from her father his strong dedication to work and after his death she personally took over the leadership and the operational management of the company, with the support of the whole family.
Cristiana is a businesswoman in tourism and, even though she is physically far from the family farm, she is close to the whole family with her experience. She has been living in France for 30 years and has traveled the world far and wide for business and pleasure. For almost 15 years she has owned and managed, with her husband Thierry, a hotel-restaurant in the South of France, in the majestic mountains of the Pyrenees. Despite the distance, she often offers the chance of a competent and precise consultation for the activities of her family.
And then there are the grandchildren:
Marco, Elvira’s son and manager of the farm, has taken over control and management the activities related to agriculture, which he carries on with a strong respect for Nature and its delicate balance. With him, the farm, certified organic, was introduced to permaculture; moreover Marco offers his valuable experience in the activities of the Educational Farm.
Paolo, Donatella’s son, has recently fully returned to the operational management of the company related to communication and reception. Passionate about writing and communication in tourism-cultural matters, he also deals with the marketing of the agritourism by diversifying the sale channels and establishing new and interesting business relationships.
Flavio, 12 years old, is Cristiana’s son and the youngest of the family. He will have the task of judging whether his predecessors have done a good job!