How strange!

Italy in November with literally millions of olive trees, yet no one is picking the olives—and no one ever will! Instead, they will raccolgono, gather them, or prendono, take them. Just try to use the word “pick” on Italians and note the puzzled looks on their faces. They probably can’t imagine what you are even talking about. But, if you say gather or take at just the right time, not only would you be well understood, but might even find yourself up on a ladder in the middle of an olive grove for a few days. (more…)

Three brothers ran the local restaurant in Monteloro, called da Orlando, named after the most vivacious of the three. The ristorante occupies the entire “downtown” with a surprising quasi-Art Deco interior behind the traditional Tuscan facade. The site boasts a delightful valley view from the vine-covered dining terrace in the back. We had many meals in that favorite local haunt during the years while finishing our place on the hill. Orlando, being the most talkative of the three brothers, often stood by our table telling us jokes, stories and neighborhood gossip as he deemed necessary. He was so engaging and funny, it always felt like we should pay extra for the live entertainment. (more…)