One of the other things we learned back on the 21st was that the 22nd was going to be a train-strike day. Only a few critical trains would be running on Friday.
So, we let everybody back at the house know this, and suggested that this made an excellent excuse to just chill and take it easy.
See, my grandmother is an Italian Catholic (not hugely practicing). My grandfather is Protestant, at least technically.
They run the family business together, along with my father, his brother, and his brother-in-law. Plus other people, too, but the point is, what happens when you add the Italian temper and temperament to the Protestant work ethic?
You end up with a situation where, when you suggest to my generation the idea of having a day just hanging around the beautiful villa, lying out by the pool, maybe wandering down to the village for a beer or coffee, and generally taking it easy and hanging out, they react not only enthusiastically, but with genuine relief. Lis and I hadn't been in Italy when everyone else took the day trip to Lucca, but, frankly, I'm GLAD we weren't there. Everyone agrees that Walter is an AMAZING driver for being able to take the ten-person van down the medieval streets in which they had to fold in the mirrors on both sides in order to fit, but nobody seems to really dwell on the fact that they were only IN those streets because everyone was completely ignoring Patrick, who had the map and was saying, "Um, we need to turn left here to avoid going into tiny little medieval streets in which our van isn't allowed. . . "
In any case, Fabio, who is the owner of the villa we are renting, came by and asked if we all wanted to go on a car tour of the area. He'd take his van, we'd take our van, and he could show us cool things in and around Bucine.
This seemed like an excellent, low-key plan, and we did it. We drove over a bridge in which the structural part was Roman work, and above it was medieval work, and then they put modern pavement on it. We stopped at an apiary to watch them extract honey from honeycomb. We went to a partially-restored medieval castle, which is now a village with five families in it. We went to the winery that Fabio is part-owner of, then went to Fabio's father's farm, and saw the more traditional setup with which his father-in-law makes and bottles HIS wine. As well as meeting the gentleman and wandering around his farm. And then we went out to dinner.
That's the overview. Let me now zoom in and tell you a couple cool bits from here and there around the day. . . ( Read more... )