God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Our Favorite Italia

Does everyone have a most favorite place--anywhere? I do--it's right here in Bella Italia but, strangely enough, not where we are living. My favorite place is the hill town of Montepulciano -- well, not exactly the town itself, but its environs--the green and gold gentle rolling hills flowing from one farm house to a distant other--the stately, towering cypress
trees that line a winding path leading to a winery, a villa or just to the top of a hill. The utter simplicity of the beauty overwhelms and seems to provide a restorative calm and peace. I always feel renewed after just a day or two in this part of God's country.

And--we have very special friends in Montepulciano, friends whom we treasure and enjoy. When we arrive there, it is like coming home to family. Nico and Elena are younger than our children but this is one of those situations where age does not seem to enter into the friendship equation, perhaps because with Casey we have the child thing in common.

Meet Nico Pannevis and Elena Falvo

We were there just last weekend-staying in one of the apartments at Sant' Antonio, a restored 13th century monastery which has been transformed into delightful vacation apartments. At this point, we have stayed in several of the units and each one is pleasurably unique. Nico takes great pride in providing quality in all things--from cleanliness to glass and dishware to pots and pans to fabrics and tiles. And then he tops it all off with a personality and charm that captivates.

Casey and Sofia, their daughter, have been friends for several years now, each holding a special place in the other's heart--the kind of friendship that will grow with the years so that time together will always be special and part of their growing up memories. This time was the best because now they can communicate with language since Casey speaks Italiano. Before they simply used whatever language it is that children seem to share with each other--the one that is unintelligible to adults.


Since we first knew Elena and Nico, little Filippo has been added to their family and this year he is old enough to play with the big kids. So, much of the time this weekend was a threesome--particularly because Filippo has molti Gromiti cards--something you need to be a boy and an italian to appreciate--both of which Casey now is. Fillipo is just as cute as his big sister and a real sweetheart of a child.

So, as always, we had a great time in Montepulciano. Ken and I even had time for one of our favorite pastimes-- exploring the mysteries of white roads as Casey played at home with the kids. And then in the evening we enjoyed sitting around the table with friends--good food, good wine, good conversation. Perfetto!!


Kathleen said...

I love reading your blog........I have taken early retirement and am living in Scottsdale with a future move to Florence (hopefully sometime this summer) My only hesitation is can I do it without missing my son to the point of hopping on the next plane! He'll be in law school in September after completing his Masters this May. He is not a baby anymore, but he is still my baby.......any suggestions........I love the fact that you have your grandson with you and you have met so many wonderful people......it appears that you have stayed longer than your original plan........I am open to any ideas!


Jane said...

Kathleen, my e-mail address is in my profile. E-mail me and then I can do a better job of answering your questions. There is a lot of work in preparing for a move to Italy. Anything over 3 months becomes complicated--you need to be committed to the idea. You may want to check out www.expatsinitaly.com which gives a lot of good info about long term stays here. Send me a note.

Kathleen said...

Unless I am blind I cannot flind it in your profile........I had checked there before leaving a comment since I felt it was more appropriate........we seem to be about the same age so I was looking for some sage advice.

Jane said...

Kathleen--oops--forgot I had deleted it a while back. It is jlparke@aol.com. Look forward to hearing from you.