Sunday, November 05, 2023

Italian Lessons

Murano, the antidote to Venice


It wasn’t till the 18th day of our three-week power tour of northern and central Italy that we realized that our sweet spot is the serenity of the countryside. Perversely all of our days were spent in cities till a winery tour in the Tuscan hills outside Siena reminded us that we’re at home under big skies with forever vistas. So, we booked our last two nights on a working farm north of Venice. It, too, reaffirmed our love of the high desert where we’ve made our home for twenty years. After a dicey check in, there was no one at reception when we arrived, we entered our second-floor room overlooking the farm and breathed for the first time since October 13. That’s when we knew our bliss in not in the city but in the calm of a village. That’s an awkward realization for an octogenarian who has professed his desire to live in bustling neighborhood in one of the world’s great cities, for complete immersion in city life and language for a full year. After Venice, Verona, Bologna, Florence, Siena, glorious cities all, I’m reassessing the way I want use the rest of my life.  I still crave more adventures, more surprises, more learning, more languages, and most of all new friends who were strangers till we shook hands for the first time. But where those experiences will take place is under review.

The broad Adige River and rainbow, Verona

A Venice Nocturne

The Prosecco Hills between Treviso and the Dolomites

Peggy had wanted to visit Venice with me for thirty years. For her significant birthday, I planned an itinerary the would be the greatest hits of historic Italian cities. I bit off more than we could comfortably chew. Schlepping two much stuff on public transport was a nightmare. The pressure and fatigue of our schedule was debilitating. What we saw as amazing, but fewer stops with more time in each and with much less baggage would have been a better idea. A single rural location or small city with daytrips and some overnighters as we've done in the past may be the ideal formula for a relaxed, creative idyll. We avoided driving on this trip. We'll rethink that, as well. There's a lot of freedom with wheels.

Il Campo, Siena

Peggy had been lobbying to add Siena to our itinerary. The weather had become dank in the north so visiting warmer Tuscany beckoned. Thankfully we opted for four nights in the Medieval city. Our apartment, the least expensive of the entire trip, was perfect but for spotty internet. We were on a quiet street a short block from the center of the city. Everything we wanted to see was less than a ten-minute walk. We were revived by the longer stay and the warm sun. An intimate tour of three wineries in Montalcino capped with a 2014 Brunello Reserva at a one women vineyard and cellar was perfection.

1 comment:

Blacks Crossing said...

With today's blog, you have made me jealous on many levels. Montalcino is magnificent as is much of the wine that is made there. How brilliant it must have been to taste a 2014 Brunello Reserva in such a beautiful place. Your black and white image of Il Campo in Siena speaks volumes. Snow in the Dolomites behind the Prosecco Hills yields a comfortable sigh. What a sojourn you have had and a fine way for Peggy to celebrate a significant birthday. I definitely look forward to hearing more and seeing more photographs from your power tour. Thanks for sharing with us, Esteban!