I feel it’s time for another blog post containing only photos and captions again. We travel a lot, but this little place in Groppo we have called home this past year truly has the best sights and characters of all. We will really miss our Italian home!
Every afternoon in the piazza at Pieve, just up the hill from us, the local ladies meet. They sit on the benches in the shade; some with their walking sticks, some with their cushions, and talk about the daily life of a rural tuscan village. They're not solving world peace, but such companionship in this close-knit supportive community must be contributing in some way to a better world. We occasionally spend time chatting with these ladies (who I suspect find us even more curious than we find them!)
The ladies of Pieve
Our backyard. Look at how beautifully mowed the lawn is! Well done Chris
One morning there was a knock on the door. Chris and I were being lazy and hadn't got out of bed yet, so the boys answered. It was Nino (our neighbour and Gabriella's husband) with a beautifully wrapped freshly-baked Crostata for our enjoyment. This was a completely unexpected suprise! It tasted delicous 🙂
Mia Nonna! Chris gets cozy on Gabriella's lap. We've adopted her (or she's adopted us?) and are trying to convince her to come to Australia.
We call him "Mange Cat". This poor old moggy limps around Groppo and appears to be at death's door. I think he's hoping to be run over one day.
You might remember the tick post from a couple of weeks ago: Denver had been bitten by a tick in his belly button. We extracted it successfully, but less than a week later it became red. We panicked and took him to Pontremoli hospital where he was put on antibiotics and given a cream. I'm happy to report he's OK now. I HATE ticks!!
This was the night of the hospital visit in Pontremoli. Afterwards, we had to go and get the local Pharmacist to give us the antibiotics (after hours). Our friend Lucia was very helpful this night!
Guess who just won the Pontremoli election and is now Mayor? Lucia! The campaign poster you see there was photographed by Chris and designed by me.
I fear we may have been ruined for Australian coffee. The coffee here is so good: not "overdone", creamy, smooth and just the right temperature. I don't know how I will go back to Australian coffee. Maybe that's a good thing though?
I figured out why there are geraniums planted everywhere around Bagnone. It's to keep the mozzies away! Here are some planted on the bridge over the Torrent in Bagnone.
We took a wander around the Bagnone Castello village the other day. It's the typical labyrinth of stone tunnels, random doorways, steep stairs and little piazzas. The route through the houses takes you down to the main part of Bagnone eventually. The walk down has spectacular views and is dizzyingly high above the torrent.
The view on the way down from the Castello in Bagnone
Behind the castle in Bagnone. It's fun on the way down....
The boys on the path behind the castle in Bagnone. Such a gorgeous setting (if it wasn't for the ticks lurking in the grass!)
The boys at the Festa dei Bimbi in Bagnone. A fun jigsaw puzzle!
Denver at Festa dei Bimbi with his best friend Ali
A lovely spring scene in the mountains somewhere near Montereggio
FANTASTIC lasagne in Montereggio. We also ate the yummiest antipasto platters, the fiori fritters were outstanding and just like Grandma used to make.
On the way from Montereggio to Calice, the views are amazing!
The castle at Calice. The juxtaposition of the old and the new, they're building a new playground which is still wrapped in bubble-wrap.
The castle at Calice. Don't ask me why the turf there is bright neon green. I think maybe it's better not to know.
Balin looking out over the valley from the castle door at Calice
A window inside the castle at Calice. Nice thick walls.
Cinghiale! Otherwise known as wild boar. I've enjoyed him in stew in Pisa. This shot reminds me of an album we used to own in the 80s called "Full Boar"
This is a Statue Stele. These are thousands of years old and are found all around Lunigiana. They represent male and female divinity. This one was in the museum at Calice, but Pontremoli castle has many more of them (if we ever find it open!)
Cows! Bulls too. We had to navigate our way through these rather unfriendly animals whilst out on a Sunday drive. As if the road wasn't scary enough!
How Italian is this? At the traffic lights in Villafranca behind a Fiat, washing hanging out of someone's window above and the mountains in the distance.
Stairs in the village of Ameglia
Marco the bus driver. Chris and I decided to catch the bus with the kids one morning just to experience the ride. We got dropped off at school with the rest of the kids and then walked back home by ourselves. It was fun.
The kids at school, waiting for the teachers.
One of those photos that looks like a painting. The soccer field near the school in Bagnone and "our" mountains wearing their fluffy cloud hats.
Walking up the road from Bagnone to Groppo
Evening over the valley as seen from our backyard. At night time the lights twinkle below to remind you that, despite the isolation of our house, there are other people out there.
If I seem sentimental in this post, it’s because I’m aware of how little time we have left here in Italy. We are going home in the middle of next month. It is an earlier exit than we had originally planned, but we have some business in Australia which requires our presence and, in the end, there was no way for us to be able to stay for the complete year. As much as I love Australia and can’t wait to see my family and friends again, I know that I will miss this place and the people who have become our friends.