In Valletta Brianza, an organic relais created by a former fashion photographer, Count Gaetano Besana, to immerse yourself in all the charm of an ancient peasant village that still lives according to the rhythms dictated by nature.
It is here that in 1999, Gaetano Besana, a life spent between fashion photo shoots around the world, decides to give life to “his” world, a small lost paradise set in an abandoned fourteenth-century village whose name apparently derives from Latin Gallicus albus agger, ie white Gallic fortifications, where the “white” color refers to the light color of the limestone with which the houses were built.
A complete reconstruction according to the historical forms began, with certified bio materials and energy from renewable sources, and in 2005 it became a WWF Oasis for biodiversity within the Regional Park of Montevecchia and the Curone Valley. Undecided about what quality of apples to plant on his land (if it was supposed to be paradise, it could only start from its fruit par excellence!), Gaetano then decided to plant them all and today, on 20 hectares, there are more than 100 different types of cultivated apples, as well as figs, olives, pears, plums, grapes, in particular ancient varieties, and vegetables from organic and biodynamic agriculture, which can be purchased in the Relais’ Bottega.
After a life spent in fashion, here I rediscovered what is perhaps the highest form of beauty, nature forged by the hands of men who respect it to draw nourishment for the body and soul.
Even the furnishings, the result of Gaetano’s eye trained in beauty and high scenic allure, are inspired by a recycling philosophy like the refined fabrics bought by Gaetano’s mother in China which were used as headboards, the boards fallen from the demolition of the old roof of the building reused to build the beds, and ancient objects of the Besana family, from skis to photographs to trunks and oil lamps, used to set up the 11 beautiful rooms, all different from each other.
From the Hammock Room, with an as original as Instagram-friendly rocking bed, to the Hay Room with the mattress resting on huge bales of hay, you will want to sleep in each of them just to admire the many details of the decor.
And after seeing how carefully they are grown, you will certainly want to try the products of the Oasis, from the excellent apple juice to jams and chutney made from ancient apple, onions and balsamic vinegar. The cuisine of the Oasi Galbusera Bianca restaurant, as well as the breakfast served in the room near the Bottega, is based, in fact, on self-produced raw materials or bought from supplied by nearby farms that follow the same philosophy to create yummy natural dishes such as cheese platters and cold cuts from the Valley accompanied by honey and preserves from the Oasis, spaghetti pasta with beetroot, pork tenderloin cooked at low temperature with fig sauce or red lentil pie.
At the Oasis the healing power of nature also extends to the kitchen, such as the panna cotta with strawberries prepared with an infusion of amethysts left in milk cream for 24 hours, strictly on full moon nights, so that the stones release all their power.
In winter, lunches and dinners are organized in the rooms with fireplaces, while in summer, truly spectacular, they are served under the Dreamers’ Tent in the garden or in the Gazebo set up in the orchard.
Do not miss the themed events, by reservation, such as the Picnic among the fig trees or the Full Moon Dinners. And, upon request, the very kind staff of the Oasis will be able to organize many tailor-made experiences for you, from nature walks and horseback rides, to trips to the many sites of cultural interest in the area, from the Crespi Village to the Brianza Villas up to Lake Como.
It seems that Count Gaetano decided to “stop” at the Oasis after feeling the great energy power released by these lands. In fact, nearby there is one of the most mysterious places in Italy: the Pyramids of Montevecchia, three hill formations with characteristics similar to the Pyramids of Giza, thought to have been built to determine the lunar cycles and thus exploit the energy benefits of nature.