We began our two months in Italy in early June by stopping in South Tyrol for some fresh air and a good walk in the woods. Oh, was our dog was happy after the long drive.
We stayed in Briol, a country inn that was redesigned in the 1920s by an Austrian painter and is now lovingly preserved and run by Johanna Fink.
You are not allowed to drive to the property, so you either hike up for an hour with your luggage or ask the staff members to organize a driver. On the way up, we discovered why.
Arriving at Briol, we had a lady with a big smile and two glasses of schnapps greeting us at the entrance. Turned out she did not speak English or Italian, only German, which left our conversation to a minimum use of words. There was a lot of nodding and smiling instead.
After we had tasted the welcome drink, we were taken to our room upstairs and there were they, staring us on the balcony, the Dolomites.
It might have been the perfect photo opportunity yet there was no intention to grab a camera, just a willingness to take it all in, the fresh air, the smell of field flowers after rain, and the mountains, standing tall before our eyes like it was the most natural thing in the world to be that handsome.
None of the rooms in Briol are en suite, since no walls can be taken down, added or moved. Instead you get cozy old-fashioned bedrooms with simple pinewood furniture and abundant use of pressed white textiles. This all amplifies the feeling of staying at a friends’ house. Friends that are very good with their hands, of course, or have a lot of help.
The dinner is served at 7 p.m. downstairs and you eat what they bring you. High-quality home-cooking and Tyrolean cuisine is a great combination.
Along with typical north Italian mountain cooking – ravioli, gnocchi, casserole, deer – you might find strudel on your plate, which reminds of the Austrian influences on the area.