These are stories about those places that are noteworthy either as public attractions, or perhaps even quiet personal places that make a difference in people’s lives. They are the places that give us energy, sustenance and reflective moments that help us to live richer lives.

Years ago, everyone living in the Italian countryside had a special place where the best of life would happen—in the cantina. There’s no real counterpart in the US because it isn’t quite the same as a basement or a cellar. In the older farmhouses the cantinas were cool windowless spaces that opened at the ground level on one side of the colonica, farmhouse. They often included an enormous fireplace—the kind you could walk into and pull up a chair to sit for a while and warm your bones. (more…)

There are some people in this world who are absolutely unforgettable. Even if the encounter is brief, the experience becomes indelibly etched in memory. Perhaps you meet someone with a big and charismatic personality. Maybe their line of work has a memorable quality as well. And then there are those who combine the two. Dario Cecchini is one of those people. (more…)

Friday morning we tossed the last few items into the car—sweaters, sunglasses, maps and cameras. Three doors closed one after the other and we were off on a road trip to the Tuscan hilltowns of Cortona, Montepulciano and Pienza. Our dear friend Scott’s visit inspired this tour—drawn to the allure of the ancient Tuscan countryside. Rolling down the white road from the house, we began our journey with rocks crunching under the tires. The adventure had begun! (more…)

It was a beautiful spring morning, so we decided to take a walk down the hill to check on the progress of the canale antico, antique channel. They started the work a couple of weeks ago, so the project is far enough along to see how it’s shaping up. The channel will connect to the piccolo lago, small lake (really it’s a pond) to provide for over-flow in case of an emergency. (more…)

Time for a break from the writing.

We decided to go to Fièsole, which is the closest town to our place. It’s only a 10 minute drive and easy enough on the spur of the moment. When we need some hot schiacciata, flat bread, verdure fresche, fresh vegetables, or alimentari, groceries, we sometimes zip into Fièsole for a few minutes, assuming that it’s not between 1 pm and 3:30 pm since everything closes for a mid-day break (lunch, followed by a siesta). But today is domenica, Sunday, and all of the stores are closed anyway, so it’s the perfect time for lunch at Vinandro. (more…)