The Polegri Family at Casa Segreta (“Secret House”), an adventure started in 1920….
It all began in 1920 in the picturesque and rocky village of Baschi, a sandstone masterpiece stubbornly perched for centuries on the eastern bank of the blond Tiber river. My grandfather, Bernardino Polegri, a robust graduated in agricultural sciences and artillery captain on leave, due to asthma problems, made the decision to sell the family mill and devote himself to his original passion: agriculture. Thanks to his determination my grandfather was committed to open the new track for new plants, fruits and lead the following generations. Over the years we saw the transformation of an ancient countryside into a land for a modern enterprise, thanks to the efforts of my father Lucio, who has loved and fought this land all his life. The "Sor Lucio", thanks to the patience of our mother the "Sora Antonietta", fearless French teacher converted to the rural cause, left us a magnificent reality of territory and production, but much more a strong passion for the countryside, an irreducible tenacity and a good level of craziness which often helps. My brother Federico, the youngest of five siblings forever young, managed our clayey hills with good talent and great skills until the arrival of Tommaso, my son, who is another willing good Polegri with stubbornness and a sense of duty. I see them going well together, gently taciturn and tractor companions, certainly not like me who often sins of excess talks…. After all, I consider myself a cook lent to agriculture, or vice versa, and I am going to turn on stoves and ovens again at Casa Segreta and continue to feed the everlasting passion of a whole life spent with the hands smelling of garlic and chocolate.
WHY "CASA SEGRETA?"
Casa Segreta is located in Baschi, in the hilly area of Poggi, an enchanting plateau that looks at the villages of Civitella del Lago to the northeast, Montecchio, Tenaglie and Guardea to the east, Alviano to the south, Mount Cimino and Castiglione in Teverina to the southwest.
Our family lived in the center of the village of Baschi until the early 80s and then migrated to the farm in a brand-new house, white and large, built by my father. A few hundred meters away, on the top of the hill overlooking the south, stood a farmhouse in limestone and tufa blocks. It was battered and dusty, even though it had been restored somehow already, obviously with not much success. In the following years it was purchased to complete the property and my father's plan to give each child a house. The farmhouse was rented to several families in the years to come, all quite original people and with a certain amount of craziness. Around the early 2000s the house on the hill remained empty and like all empty country houses it was gradually wrapped in weeds and annoying climbing plants.
On a Spring Sunday, after a family lunch that certainly ended with countless cream, chocolate and cream pastries, my nephew Lucio, who was perhaps six years old, revealed to my son Tommaso, who was perhaps four years old, the existence of a "secret house" nearby, beyond the old verdello vineyard. The two adventurous little ones headed for those lonely stones on the hill and made their acquaintance. Entering inside they realized that it was not so bad and that as a Secret House you could organize beautiful birthday parties, play war and hide and seek and have snacks with treasure hunt and blowing firecrackers. Tommaso also set mousetraps in the house and the catches were multiple....
Today Casa Segreta is a place full of life, with tractors and nice people, cooking classes, hospitality and tasting experiences, there you can admire the most beautiful sunsets in the world while tasting wonderful wines. There are also many dogs and cats, and for now mice are no longer seen....
Lorenzo Polegri, the unique and true Italian FarmerChef, with over 30 years of experience in classic and avant-garde Italian cuisine. His name is linked to the restaurant and cooking school "Zeppelin" of Orvieto. One of the best known and esteemed culinary arts professionals in the USA and Canada. He has collaborated and collaborates with institutions such as The James Beard Foundation, The American Culinary Federation, The Italian Canadian Foundation, The White House, The United Nations, Harvard University. Lorenzo is in charge of cooking and gastronomy classes at Casa Segreta, hosting gourmand enthusiasts and students from major U.S. cooking schools: The Art Institutes of America, Le Cordon Bleu, Johnson & Wales, The Culinary Institute of America, Este Universidad, Bristol Community College, The French Culinary Institute, The Culinary Institute of Arizona, The International Culinary Institute at Myrtle Beach, and many more. In the midst of a midlife crisis he just bought a scrambler motorcycle.....
Tommaso Polegri, was born into the family farming business and he’s a talented hunter. Young graduate of hospitality school, after important experiences in culinary arts in Italy and abroad, he has chosen to follow the family farming tradition by enthusiastically dedicating himself to the management of our glorious and fearless company, following the great inspiration given by his grandparents and uncle Federico. Deep is his passion for the cultivation of vines and olive trees, along with the production of wine and oil, in compliance with the glorious Umbrian tradition, with the necessary modernization and mechanization. He started new collaborations with other young farmers in the area to continue a process of generational renewal, which is necessary for the continuation of the agricultural development in our territory. Tommaso is much feared by wild boars all over Umbrian territory ....
Federico Polegri, first class farmer by family tradition and true titan of our hills. One of the most highly rated professionals, since the beginning of his career he has been able to carry on with expertise and great knowledge the work started by the previous two generations, supporting our father Lucio in the revolutionary and complex transformation of our countryside that have gone from an eminently cereal vocation to an epochal change towards the new tree reality, with new vineyards and specialized olive groves. Federico has a deep knowledge of our territory, generous and hard at the same time, with a professional ability to manage means and people involved in the agricultural enterprise. He has a silent and reflective character, best expressed in the perfection of mechanical works of all kinds and in the resolution of any sort of adversities, apart from atmospheric ones ...