The breeze carries with it the scent of the mountains, the olive trees rustle outside and as I look out of my window, I see forests and vineyards all around. The kitten is curled up in the sofa next to me… it has not moved for the past half an hour- and it seems like it has plans for a long siesta. Ciro the dog lazes at my feet- and looks at me with wise, loving eyes. We are with Angelo, his wife Lia and their son Federico- in their ancient country home, high in the mountains near Mangona, in Tuscan-Italy. We love the peace and quiet, the kindness of our hosts and the life on their farm. We have fresh eggs, the goats provide milk and cheese, the horse ploughs the field and their gardens and orchards offer everything else.
“Living off the land” is how Angelo puts it. “There is nothing more we need- the land offers us everything”. He should know- because over the last 40 years that Angelo has acquired this ancient countryside villa, he has put things together with his own hands. Every brick, every plant and all the farm animals- they carry the mark love and care from Angelo and his family. And so too, do all the guests who have shared their world over the past years.
Anu and me originally planned a night halt here- but our hearts longed for more… and so we extended our stay here… by a day… then two… now we are on day 4 and I think another couple of days might not be a bad idea. It is just the tranquillity all around- and of course the company of the other guests. Tom from US is an ex-IBM employee turned university professor, Darren from NZ is an accountant turned chef while Helen (Darren’s wife) is a manager turned publisher. Together, we completed the circle- strangers turned friends, connected by a love for wild open spaces and the simple life. In the past days, we bonded much- over food, experiences, music, wines & smokes… and most importantly we shared our diverse worldviews and deeper dilemmas.
“I have always wanted this- to live the farm life, live in harmony with nature and the world- and share my world from people from across the world”. It is hard work but this gives me peace, Angelo’s eyes smiled as we looked out onto the mountains now preparing for the evening. Here by the window, the sunlight catches the cigarette smoke as it spirals into the heavens. The red of the sun lights each summit one by one- before the blanket of the night covers the horizon. Down below the sheep grazed lazily, and we fill our lungs with the scent of the grey-blue mountains. Yes- another couple of days here may not be a bad idea!