Located on a Tuscolo hill near Frascati, Villa Grazioli has a very illustrious history. Built in the 16th Century by Cardinal Carafa, the villa is a masterpiece boasting frescoes by Panini. The home was handed down to various families over the years until it finally fell into disrepair. Abandoned, it was used as a shelter during WWII and in some rooms, there is still evidence of cooking fires and soot. Serious effort is being put into restoring the glorious frescoes but the dilapidation, in my opinion, only serves to deepen the character of this place.

It is situated in a splendid position with cool breezes in the summer and a majestic view of Rome and Castelli Romani. My husband and I loved the fact that we had the villa to ourselves. Walking its magnificent galleries we were transported to a different time; a magical place. One of our favorite frescoed rooms had comfy couches and tall windows that looked out to the countryside. Surrounded by smiling, carousing satyrs, we relaxed with a good book and enjoyed the solitude.

As many of my friends might attest, I was either a gypsy, a travel agent or both in a past life. Since I suffer from an incurable wanderlust, finding a great travel bargain is always a welcome break. As I plan a trip I scour the web to find a good deal. I prefer off the beaten path travel and smaller, lesser known establishments to the bustling pomp and ceremony of grand hotels. After laying eyes on this gem of a hotel nestled in the Roman hills I would have gladly paid $300 a night, but at $150 it was the bargain of the century. I snatched it up immediately! For some, Villa Grazioli might be too sparse of world class amenities but to us it was just right. We had gorgeous views, a pool, great food and wonderful inspiration.

I dare say that all those wicked satyrs tempted me to write The Olive Grove, a short, erotic novella I started during my  stay in this hotel.