Veruska and Igor seem happy with their lives in Italy. We don’t really know where exactly in Russia they came from or IF they really are Russian. Why did they leave? Were there suspicious circumstances? It doesn’t really matter. We simply know that they are the sweet couple that we encountered just outside the Balducci Coffee Bar on the piazza in Caldine. (more…)

È quest’autobus per Santa Brigida? Is this bus going to Santa Brigida?”
Seems like a pretty simple question, but after a 5 hour hike and an hour wait for the last bus of the day, we wanted to be sure. We had no interest in retracing our steps back to the car. ” Sì, questa è l’autobus giusto. Yes, this is the right bus,” she replied with a smile. (more…)

“If you get pure beauty, you get about the best thing God has to give.”

The quote is attributed to an anonymous artist long ago, cited by the British writer, Charles Latham in his 1905 book, The Gardens of Italy. The sentiment sums up the intention of the Italian villa—pure beauty! And Villa Gamberaia, set in the peaceful hills overlooking Florence is certainly no exception. This incredible garden in the Tuscan landscape has been studied and celebrated by architectural historians and garden designers throughout the centuries. In fact, the painter may have been standing in Gamberaia’s garden when he first spoke those words that captured Latham’s imagination. (more…)

Ah, Spring! It’s that magical season that reminds us that what was closed and silent begins to open, open, open.

Immediately in front of us is the most incredible display of hope and faith in each new day. The Tuscan spring of this year arrives in all its splendor. Millions. No, billions of tiny tentative forms peek from beneath hardened bark, choosing to go one more round, to continue Life’s cycle, to shake off the blanket of winter. Shades of gray transform into delicate green, pink and yellow buds, right before our eyes. Blossoms. Flowers. And we anticipate the unfurling of leaves for shade in the months to come.

We are moved by the intensity of nature’s confident and bold statement. Choose life! Choose growth! Choose transformation! (more…)

Why would anyone voluntarily leave Italy? Good question. But, that’s another story for another time. So . . . given that we wanted to “get out of Dodge,” we asked ourselves one simple question, “How can we most quickly and easily leave, yet still enjoy rolling hillsides of enchantment and inspiration, all the while, eating incomparable pastries, local cuisine and of course, a refreshing gelato now and again?”  The answer was obvious: Corsica. (more…)

We share the same middle name—Emerson.

I miss my dad.

About a week ago, an envelope arrived in the mail. The address was hand written in a recognizably flamboyant style, using what appeared to be a black Sharpie felt-tip pen. Clue number one was the unmistakable script—none other than my mom’s handwriting. Inside was a short letter scrawled on an odd piece of notepaper, on which she’d written that she had found some old pictures of her and my dad’s wedding. She thought we might enjoy seeing them. She was right! (more…)

A quarter cup a day keeps the doctor away! That’s the adage that our friend Giacomo‘s father lives by and he’s in his nineties.

A quarter cup of what, you ask? OLIVE OIL. Signor’ Martini actually drinks it—in addition to what he typically drizzles over every meal, every day of his life. In ancient Greece, Homer called it liquid gold because of the countless benefits: heart, skin, medicines, rituals and much more. You name it. And that doesn’t even count the spiritual boost that comes from harvesting the olives by hand. It’s truly a meditation. Somehow, the gift of longevity is linked to the magic and mystery of the albero olivo, olive tree as far back as double digit centuries. Evidence like that is hard to ignore or deny. (more…)

Yesterday we spent the entire day in Florence.

Every once in a while, we have so many things that need to be done, it just takes all day. There’s no way around it. So we dedicated Monday from 6 am to 7 pm to make everything happen. Yes, we said 6 am—as in the morning. But we’re happy to report that we not only made a clean sweep of it, but enjoyed an extra surprise along the way. Little did we know that our burger day had finally arrived! (more…)

On a winter day in 2006, the old oak tree in the back yard came down with a devastating crash. It had faithfully stood there shading the entire house and yard for over a century, stretching its incredibly strong arms in all directions creating an intricate canopy of jagged dark lines covered in lacy green leaves. (more…)