Archive | 3:10 PM

The Owner.4

4 Aug

“My name is Judy,” I explained in my best Italian. “My husband and I are guests at the villa tonight.”

“Oh, they didn’t tell me anyone was staying here,” she replied in Italian, looking from me to her friend.

“I recognize you from your website – your face and smile!” I blurted out as it struck me I knew this lovely stranger’s face.

She smiled at me and we all relaxed enough that she invited me for coffee.

“Let me get my husband and I’ll be right back.” I didn’t want Len to miss this.

But back “at the ranch” when I told Len the ladies had invited us to coffee, he looked at me like I had two heads. “Let me get this straight…it’s 5:30 PM, and I’m going to leave the comfort of “our villa” and this wonderful array of wines to accompany you to have coffee with two women I’ve never met and not understand a word of the conversation.

“Right.” And then I smiled in a way that wives know how to do.

We walked down the long drive and I knew Len couldn’t believe we were actually going to visit with the owner of the estate. After all, he was the one who had done the research and found the estate after so many years.

We sat on their large, inviting patio overlooking a huge crystal blue pool on one side and the glorious sun laden hills of Montalcino on the other. They served us dark rich espresso they had just brewed. Marisa Centolani, her husband Giovanni Peluso, and their children own and operate the estate. He comes from Naples, where they still live much of the year. Maria, the lighter haired lady, is Marisa’s cousin who accompanied her on this trip as Giovanni was in Paris on business.

We talked about everything…our families, our travels, places in Italy we’ve visited and those we need to visit, politics, the state of the world, life in Italy, Italian musicians, the difference between the food, pizza, bread, etc., from north to south, the winery, the age and history of the buildings, Italian culture, and living life to its fullest. The conversation flowed easily between Italian and English, with me interpreting and everyone nodding, talking and engaged in the moment. This truly was the highlight of our trip. It’s impossible to describe the warmth and loveliness of this experience…four people, two sets of strangers, worlds apart yet brought together because of a shared passion for life in Italy at its best…no noise, no traffic, no tourists, no graffiti, no shops.

After two hours, we invited them to join us for dinner. They had already prepared food for themselves but encouraged us to head to Il Leccio at the highest point for the view and great food. After a round of hugs and photos, we expressed our heartfelt thanks and bid each other farewell. Before we turned to leave, Marisa said one more thing to me. I smiled and nodded my head yes.



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