About Casa Leugh
Leugh was last used to serve the mountain people of Starleggia (above Campodolcino on the way to Madesimo near the Spluga Pass a border with Switzerland) In autumn when they came down to the Valley of Chiavenna (Val Chiavenna) to collect fruit, in particular grapes and chestnuts. The forest surrounding the house is predominately chestnut. Chestnuts were extremely important to these peoples diet through the long winter months as they are very high in protein. Meat in those days was considered very much a luxury.
Some centuries back Leugh was actually just above the shores of Lake Como and in fact the valley below Leugh was reclaimed for farming and housing as the lake slowly subsided. Obviously very rich farming land. The whole of Val Chiavenna has an incredible rich history, if you’d like to know more about it there’s a museum in the Paradiso Gardens with some amazing stories on the valley. The actual Paradiso Gardens were once magnificent botanical gardens, unfortunately they are a little run down, but you can still see some really old trees and there’s a wonderful view at the top, thus the name Paradiso (heaven), you will seem incredibly close on a beautiful sunny day. Ask at the Tourist Bureau for opening times.
The road leading to Leugh from Nogaredo is an old Roman road and when we rediscovered it (complete with 20 metre chestnut trees and incredibly big stone boulders used for the foundations) it was quite a task to reuse it. Unfortunately, over the centuries it had been ransacked of most of the wonderful stone used to make it. So I know it’s a trek when you’re going up it on your way home from the pizzeria after a few “vinos”, but just think of the history you’re walking on!
The rebuilding of Casa Leugh was a labour of love for Milvo and myself (not to say we didn’t have any arguments through those long restoration years!!)
A lot of the furniture in the house was made from the old floorboards which we had to take up (many had rotted as the roof had fallen in). The wooden floorboards in the house now are made from the chestnut trees that were in our garden. The trees were taken to a nearby sawmill, cut into boards and basically left to dry for a few years. Most of the old wooden chests in the house were given to us by family, two of them were in the house when we bought it. Milvo’s uncle is a wood carver and has put his artistic skills to great use on the toy box just outside the upstairs bathroom door. “Nonna” gave us the beautiful wood kitchen dresser that’s built into the wall between the kitchen and the lounge area. All the stonework was done by Milvo, his dad and brothers. Casa Leugh was most certainly a labour of love.