“What do you know about Siena?”

A question like that is pretty normal in Italy, when uttered by a visitor. “How far’s Rome?” “Could we go to Venice and back in a day?” Questions we’ve heard and answered typically end up taking us on an unsuspected day trip. Just a “little” outing. We always enjoy the possibility of further exploration. So once a question is asked, we go into gear, planning and heading out on the new adventure. (more…)

It was some sort of modern day eco party that was pretty spectacular. Evidently thousands were invited unbeknownst to us. There was more than enough room for everyone to either sit down or flit around—their choice. Drinks were plentiful and unlimited while there also seemed to be an endless supply of goodies to eat. No fights broke out as the day of drinking wore on. (more…)

As you know from an earlier post, I’ve had my share of problems with Italian flyswatters. If you didn’t already read it, you might want to check out the April story called “Fly Me to the Moon—Please,” as a suggested prerequisite to this follow-up story. Since many of you felt my pain in trying to use the wimpy traditional Italian swatters, I thought it was only fair to share some good news as well. Our luck in the domain of flies took a turn for the better on Tuesday morning when we went to Molin del Piano. Let me explain. (more…)

What’s going on here? Is this some kind of a prank? Well . . . if so, it’s not very funny!

It all started this afternoon when I was sanding the kitchen window sill getting ready to repaint. I decided to get fancy about it and vacuum at the same time to eliminate all of the dust from the electric sander. It’s easy. Just hold the hose of the vacuum cleaner about an inch from the edge of the sander and all of that dust is miraculously sniffed away. No problem. (more…)

We have a little black and tan dachshund named Izzi-B. For 14 years now she has consistently searched out the highest possible perch on the sofa and that’s where she settles in to just look around to see what she can find, or sometimes (more often), to take a nap. For some reason, she wants to see the world from the top down, and I can relate to that. (more…)

Simone and Alessia arrived around mezzogiorno, noon the other day for lunch with us in the country. The sun was bright and the air was clear with that unmistakable fall crispness. We hadn’t seen them for over a year, so it was especially fun for us to have that time together to sit and talk awhile. And even though we enjoyed our conversation, there was a bit of a distraction that occupied most of our attention. As you might have guessed from their pictures, they were not alone! (more…)

Wild animals are one of the most interesting aspects of living in the Italian countryside. When we first arrived here 10 years ago, we were mostly alone up on this hill. Surrounded by nature, we saw and heard it all: cinghiali, wild boar; fagiani, pheasant; lupi, wolves; volpi, fox; caprioli, deer; cornigli, rabbits; istrici, porcupines; lucertoli, lizards and many serpenti, snakes. Of course, the ucelli, birds are everywhere—a constant chorus of canzoni del bosco, wood-songs. (more…)