A Roman Holiday - Amazing evenings in Barga
The mountain was overlooking a small, seemingly Medieval city situated in the Tuscan region of Italy. The scorching sun was falling behind the horizon and the hot day faded into an agreeable evening. A windy road led up to a villa, nearly at the top of the mountain. Shades of sunny orange colored the house and glided over the grape vines that decorated the façade. We drove up the house with my tiny, hybrid car that was fighting the steepness of the inclination. At the top we were greeted by tree dogs, wagging their tales and looking for cuddles. As we started climbing the few steps that led up to the house, we were greeted half way by our host, Monica.
With a thick accent that mixed between Italian and German she welcomed us onto the terrace which was covered by overhanging kiwi trees. A welcome party I should say, because Monica was not alone. Monica and boyfriend Nicola were entertaining around 12 people tonight and they were busy preparing the dinner. The ‘Nonna’ which I suppose was Nicola’s grandmother was cutting the potatoes meticulously into slices together with another elderly couple and Nicola stood behind a wood burning oven to grill some zucchini’s.
After greeting everybody we were lead to our home for the night, a big tipi which was the center point of our little camping place. It had a small kitchenette, a nice wooden table and a hammock dangling between two trees. Its looked too good to be true. This is just what we needed after the busy streets of Rome. The tipi had a small terrace that led to the entrance of our sleeping place and caught the last rays of sun. If I had the discipline to meditate this would have been the perfect spot. After washing up we went down to the house to join the family for dinner.
At the head of the table sat the ‘Nonna’, who supposedly was 95 years old, and kept talking to me in Italian. The terrace overlooked the village of Barga, whose crown jewel the ‘Duomo’ was placed on the highest point and lookedlike a father or a mother looking over its children. Nicola, who had by the way worked as a DJ for over 30 years, set the mood while working hard at his wood burning oven making pizza’s and bread rolls to die for. (Literally, that’s how much I ate) We were persuaded to try homemade olive oil and red wine and to relish over salads made with home grown vegetables. Of all the nights spent in Italy, this was the one that felt the realest, the most authentic.
Thanks for a wonderful experience. Gli Amici del Podere degli Gnomi