Hi, my name is Ambra. I would like to tell you how my story is related to the one of my husband Paolo and with a medieval tower located along a crossroads of peoples and cultures: the Via Francigena. In 2006 we were looking for a house: we arrived in Palestro, a quiet village on the border between Piedmont and Lombardy. Astonished by the historical and cultural richness of this territory, we decided to put down roots here and to plan a couple's life together.
During the renovation of our house some nice foreigners traveling along the Via Francigena asked us where to stay overnight in the area. We didn't know if there was an hospitality for pilgrims and travelers. Slowly the walkers increased, so we recognized that in this small town immersed in the Po Valley there was a need to be filled.
So we decided to open the doors of the house to welcome the travelers who silently crossed our territory. After obtaining the necessary permits, we inaugurated in 2013 the Ospitaliere La Torre Merlata, one of the first national receptions along the Via Francigena. Curiously we decided the name of the structure only a few days before its inauguration: we realized that it was important to value a unique place like a medieval tower, and so we called it as the building that houses the B&B.
The beginning of our experience was amazing: the meeting with travelers from every part of the world permited us to know innumerable cultures and people who have enriched our lives. The harmony between us, with the territory and with our visitors was truly surprising.
As time passes there was a change: the Via Francigena continues to grow from one month to the next, the travelers increase also because of the realization of the Francigena Cycle Route for bikers. As the number of visitors increases, so do the services they are looking for: for this reason we decided to invest our energies in this marvelous itinerary. So we started to map the territory, to keep it clean and to report any problems along the way. For this reasion we started many projects with the school children of the area, with the Nordic Walking sports groups, with the religious groups and with the cycling associations.
Today, after a few years since we started this adventure, we feel fulfilled and united along the road we are following. Moreover this job allows us to go on with the professions we have chosen: I am a set and costume designer and events organizer, instead of Paolo is a craftsman in the wood industry. We both had the chance to test ourselves and take advantage of our crafts to give new life to the structure: if you want to see the interior and the rooms you can visit this page.
Although we don't know what the future holds, we are optimistic that the Via Francigena is destined to grow more and more. We hope that our reality can be a valuable resource along this marvelous European itinerary.