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.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The More Things Change......

the more they stay the same.

Three years ago--minus 6 days--we began the adventure of calling Fattoria Viticcio in Greve-in-Chianti our home for a year. It was a quite glorious and wonderful year for all of us.

Casey met the challenge of attending the local elementary school and did well learning in a very different language. He loved the freedom of roaming and exploring the vineyards and hills; he loved playing in the piazza with friends as we finished our after dinner caffé; he loved Italy and began to think of himself as Italian. Above all, he formed an unbreakable bond with Camilla, the daughter of our landlord. These two children built memories usually found in story books--memories of idle summer days where there are no cares and the freedom just to be.

So, each year we return to the vineyard on the hill in lovely Tuscany. And each year I wonder what will happen when these two get together again--will there be an awkwardness stemming from new maturities or will they seamlessly begin where they left off the year before. And each year they prove that for them time collapses and yesterday was just the day before. It is a joy to watch such innocent friendship.

As far as Ken and I, we are doing what we do well--mostly not much. Yesterday mirrored so many of the days we had here--the days we treasure and enjoyed so much. We wandered roads with a destination in mind but soon forgotten when a different road beckoned to us. We found ourselves in Castelnovo Berendenga, which took just a short time to stroll through--not very much there to see or do. But, stopping in the tourist office, we found that San Felice vineyards and winery were quite close.

For many the highlight of visiting Tuscany is visiting wineries and tasting; however, for whatever reason, that just isn't us. But, liking San Felice wines and since it was time for lunch, we decided to go there, have lunch and then visit the enoteca and buy a couple bottles of wine. Which is just what we did.

The property is beautiful--an ancient borgo that has been transformed into a very elegant resort, and buying wines there is much less expensive than buying elsewhere. But, lunch was a major disappointment--costly and quite mediocre, unlike their wines. So, if you go, take time to explore the property, buy some wine and then eat elsewhere.

It is as beautiful as ever here--the views from each window have not changed, the skies are as blue and the clouds as white as always, the tree outside our door has donned its summer foliage and provides shade below, the sparrow nests are full and the rhythm of life continues as it was last year and the year before. It's nice to be here again.

Last night we went to dinner in the piazza--Alessandro, Nicoletta, Camilla and us. It was a good evening of conversation and laughter. As expected, the children finished before the adults and so left to roam the piazza while the "big" people finished up with caffe.

The day we arrived, Signora Franca, Alessandro's mother, made Casey's favorite dish--her lasagna and we ate outside by the pool. It was as if we were having a family reunion which, I guess, in some ways is just what it was. Gifts were exchanged with more rounds of hugs.

Now we have more days to laze and explore. Casey is going away to a camp in the mountains for 5 days with Camilla and Nicoletta and so Ken and I have an unexpected few days to do something by ourselves-kind of nice. After discarding Venice, Puglia and Rome, we decided to return to Piemonte. We have not had much time in that area of Italy and have always wanted to return. Fortunately, we were able to make reservations at a highly recommended Villa B and B--Villa Sampaguita. We are looking forward to leisurely drives, good food and visiting friends in Acqui Terme.

There is more planned--a spa day with friend Rita, lunch with friends in Umbria, a day in Florence with friends of ours and Casey's, meeting the parents of Casey's Italian tutor in San Diego, dinners with Valentina and Ricardo, Casey's tutor when we were here and other possibilities not yet confirmed. So...our few days here will be busy and full and August 15 is destined to come much too soon.


Barbara said...

You shouldn't be surprised that Casey (or KZ, now that you're in Italy!) and you settle right back into your comfortable, familiar routine - that's what 'coming home' is supposed to be like!

chiaro di luna said...

Ciao Jane,
My, haven't those two grown up! And isn't it nice to have the photos and memories posted in a blog to look back on?
Wish we were there too. It really is one of the most beautiful areas in the world. You picked right when you chose Greve and your home there.
Hope all goes well. Enjoy.
chiaro di luna

nancyhol said...

Ah, Jane, you sound so happy being home in Italy. I am really happy for all of you.

Casey and Camilla have really grown over the past year. They are both adorable!

Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear that things have remained the same and that you are settled in. Nice too that you & Ken will have a few days to yourselves. Hope that time passes very slowly :)!

Judith in Umbria said...

I always feel a little uneasy when Casey is away from Italy, so it's particularly nice to see my gallantuomo being his cheerful and extraordinary self with Camilla and in the right country.

Gail hecko said...

Jane, I love reading about your days, especially knowing I will be back there soon. Sandi and I went to the Chianti Kitchen cooking school in Castelnovo Berendenga last month. It was great fun and not too far from Montisi. Enjoy Piemonte and say ciao to Diana and Micha for me.

Trekcapri said...

Hi Jane, wonderful post. Its nice to see Casey and Camilla picking up where they left off. I enjoyed reading about your leisurely days enjoying the blue skies and the rhythm of life there. Its one of the things I love about Italy, their wonderful "rhythm of life".

Thank you so much for sharing your time with us.

Jane said...

Thanks to all of you for first, reading the blog, and secondly for taking the time to comment. I've been bad about answering comments--just too much time enjoying Tuscany. I suspect you understand.