Day-dreaming about last Summer: our first holiday with Costanza, in Tuscany, at Badia Coltibuono, and one beloved project, Where Lemons Blossom, blooming there, amidst lavanders, white French hydrangeas and Chianti vineyards…
This is me with little Costanza in front of the Badia a Coltibuono
From my diary
July 1st 2009
Last Friday we got back from a gorgeous holiday, a gift from my parents, spent at Badia Coltibuono (Province of Siena, Tuscany). Badia a Coltibuono – once a convent dating back to the 11th century – is today an enchanting bed&breakfast. A huge wood, 70 hectares of organic vineyards located in the heart of Chianti, a swimming-pool and an unforgettable Rainaissance garden with box-tree bushes, fountains, lilies, lavanders, lemon-trees, white French hydrangeas, raspbarries, basins with fish and a grape pergola. Our room faced the inner garden (room #10 at the end of the long corridor, on the right) whereas my parents’ room opend up on the Rainaissance garden (room #3). A week of total relax.
I will never forget the pies in the morning, served for breakfast: chocolate cakes, banana, lemon and apple pies. All prepared using olive oil from Badia a Coltibuono (which means: abbey of the good harvest). The inner cloister opening on the casks of wine, smelling like a mix of must and humidity, greeted us in the morning on our way to breakfast. Close to the break-fast room the former abbey refectory – proudly exhibiting 17th century frescoes on the walls – hosts today the “living room” for the guests of the Badia, with a Bechstein piano in it! Oops, I almost forgot! The guide at the Badia used to tell the American and German tourists (dropped in for a cooking course or a wine tasting) that a “part of the Berliner” play there in the Summer time (she did not specify if the so-called “part of the Berliner” gather there in order to rehearse or to perform). Apparently the “orchestra pianist” is a good friend of the owner ( Lorenza De’ Medici). I know that the “orchestra pianist” is a pretty vague term but – on the other hand – the guide seemed to have an inclination towards vagueness (in the garden there were terracotta flowerpots with aromatic herbs smelling like lemon; Walter asked her “can you please tell me what kind of plants are those?” and she candidly answered – with a marked Tuscan accent making “t” sounding like the English “th”: “Linden threes and lemon linden threes… of course what she meant was thymus…).
At lunch we always ate fresh fruit and panini stuffed with excellent Tuscan ham which my dad and mom went to buy in Greve in Chianti soon after breakfast, together with newspapers (the Corriere della Sera for them and La Repubblica for Walter and me).
Walter and I managed to successfully practise taiji chuan every morning around the swimming-pool looking like the perfect snobbish tourist (!), while Costanza would play with her (wonderful) grandparents.
Walter even succeeded in reading a whole book for the Counseling School we are attending on Neuro-Linguistic Programming (since Costanza was born reading a whole book has become a great achievement!) and I finished reading another book by the Director of our school entitled: “Overcoming Crises”. Yes, of course, overcoming crises along a swimming-pool in a Renaissance garden while sipping Chianti wine is something I can afford…
It was last Summer, in Tuscany, that Walter and I talked for the first time about my top-secret project called Where Lemons Blossom.
The project has now come true (thanks to Chianti wine?)
Walter, Costanza and I in the square of Greve