Thursday, March 31, 2005


Last summer a couple was driving past our house and a woman stuck her head out the window and said “You’re not Italian, are you?” Good call! And it was obvious to us that she wasn’t Italian either…not with that ‘down under’ accent!

She introduced herself as Belinda, and said that she and her husband Giacomo lived just outside of San Venanzo. She asked for our number and said that she wanted to have us for coffee one day soon. We said we’d like that, and that was the last we heard from them.

While taking a walk the other day, a car honked at us, and automatically we waved without really knowing who it was. Because we don’t know very many people, but everyone knows us, we figured it must have been someone from San Venanzo.

The next day, while walking again, a car pulled over and we recognized the people inside as Belinda and Giacomo! They had been the ones to honk at us the day before, but didn’t have time to stop. They had free time now, and invited us to their house for coffee. We accepted, but I told them I would have to get back within the hour, since I had bread rising! With that we hopped in their car and drove the short distance to their house.

From their house, with its wonderful covered back patio, the views were spectacular…including a great view of San Venanzo. They’ve been here for two years, after having met in Amsterdam. He’s Sicilian and had been working in Amsterdam for fourteen years. Belinda is a tour guide, and because she’s based in Rome, this location allows her to come home for a few days in between tours. They, like us, had fallen in love with the green hills of Umbria.

Giacomo and Belinda were very gracious hosts, quite causal and relaxed. They’ve done quite a bit of renovation, and are now planning their garden. Amazingly, Belinda asked me if I had read “A Green Existence”. I’m about two thirds of the way through this book, and only found out about it when Jill and Larry left it with us when the moved! The author of this book, Jonathan, is the person who’s designing their garden. What a coincidence that our paths should cross! I hope to meet him when he returns for additional planning.

The property has an olive grove that’s been long neglected, and Giacomo is working to bring it back to life. We offered to help him pick the olives next November, and he said he’d pay us for our time in olive oil….yummmmm!

While we were admiring the view, they told us about the place where they take their daily walk. It’s just on the other side of San Venanzo, and it’s a white (unpaved) road. It runs along a ridge, so there are views on both sides, and the added advantage is that there is no traffic.

Because of the waiting bread dough we had to rush back to San Venanzo, but we exchanged phone numbers and hope to get together again soon. I think they’re very interesting people…Belinda obviously must have not only a love of Italy, but also a great deal of knowledge about it. Giacomo has gone back to university and is studying international law. In the meantime, he’s getting ready to open a wine bar in Assisi. Oh, and we also discussed our need to earn some money, as well as San Venanzo’s need for a pizzeria, or perhaps some sort of gift shop. Perhaps this friendship will prove beneficial in more ways than one!


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