When we first bought our Italian home, an agriturismo in a little town called Cannara, a stone's throw from Assisi, it wasn't much of a home. La Fattoria del Gelso, it was called - Mulberry Tree Farm. That first day in March three years ago, we drove up the driveway after suffering through an hours long ordeal finalizing the purchase at the notary's office. Our celebratory lunch with the sellers, accountant and real estate agent had been a fitting and enjoyable capstone to the months long process. But now the reality was sinking in, amidst a driving rain and gray skies, that this big building, pretty much lacking in charm and situated in a country whose customs we barely knew and whose language we barely spoke now seemed to be mocking us. We had no business being in the home business in Italy.
But what a difference a few years make. Now when we drive up the cypress lined driveway our hearts skip a beat. When we swing open the front door and see the dining room, so full of memories of dinners with family and friends we think of good times to come. When we walk the perimeter of the property we no longer see fallow fields surrounding us, the local farm extension officer breathing down our neck to comply with local ordinances, but instead see fields of chick peas, seas of sunflowers or next year's crop of prized Cannara onions.
We see a home and we feel at home.
* * *
It has been several days since we have finished our frentic rush across the north of Italy and down the Adriatic coast. In those three weeks we experienced a part of Italy different from what we have known before, ate foods and drank wines that opened new vistas for us. But now we are home and there is great comfort in the usual, the expected, the, well, comfortable.
Business has encroached on our brief time here, with a trip to Rome and one to Terni, meetings at the house and away. But there has been time to relax, to enjoy the peace that we find in the shadow of St. Francis' home town of Assisi, among the birds, the fields, the gentle breezes.
|Journey of the artichoke . . .|
|from the field to the kitchen|
|to the barbeque . . .|
|to the table.|
|Ceci roasting by an open fire . .|
Today our children and a horde of other guests arrive. Let the fun begin! But for a few brief days we have been able to catch up with old friends, enjoy a little time in the kitchen, cooking our home grown ceci (chick peas), firing up the barbeque to grill some artichokes, sit by the fire and reacquaint ourselves with the local Montefalco wine that says "welcome home."
It is good to be home.
Bill and Suzy