Ciao from northern Italy!
I am in the Piedmont region, about two hours from Milan, staying at a beautiful country villa. My dear friends are getting married here tomorrow. I had a funny and charming experience this morning and immediately thought of you and wanted to share it.
The day was warm and the air was fragrant. I walked down the road from the villa to take some photos of the countryside. Sprawling lavender bushes were alive with buzzing bees. I stopped at a peach tree that was bursting with ripe fruit. No one was around, so I moved a little closer and stood on my toes to smell the peaches. Yes, I was tempted to reach up and grab one (I can hear you asking…) And as I stood considering it, the roar of an engine broke the still air. I turned to see a small car pull to a stop a few feet away. An Italian gentleman hopped out and walked toward me. Was it his property? I felt my face flush and began thinking about how to explain why I was loitering. He greeted me in Italian and reached up into the tree. With a quick motion, he pulled a peach from its branch and handed it to me with a smile.
He was elegantly dressed, in a light summer suit, linen maybe, and obviously on his way to or from some “al fresco” meal, no doubt with a view of vineyards and a medieval hill town. I was in shorts and a t-shirt that said “Another Mother Runner” – embarrassingly underdressed for this impromptu meeting.
I smiled and thanked him. He smiled and waited. Then he motioned at the peach and said “mangiare”. He wanted me to taste it. I took a tentative bite and peach juice dribbled down my chin. It was delightfully peachy, with a full flavour, but a little more tart than the peaches I eat at home. The flavour and tartness illuminated for me the true genius of an Italian Bellini – peach puree combined with Prosecco.
I took another bite or two and he watched me happily. I thanked him again and he hopped back into his car. I waved as he turned down the drive toward his villa. I snapped one more photo of the peaches, to remember the moment. Sometimes it pays to loiter under Italian peach trees.
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Where to Stay in Italy
The La Villa Hotel where we stayed on this trip was absolutely beautiful. It’s a 16th-century palazzo converted into a boutique hotel. I highly recommend it – a story with photos is coming soon.
If you are planning or dreaming of Italy travel, you might also enjoy the story of my stay at an Umbria Agriturismo. It has a wonderful location in the green hills of Italy and is very well priced.