Greetings from Ghivizzano, Italy!




To everyone who has heard of the earthquake in central Italy, we are doing fine. The earthquake was in Abruzzi, near L’Aquila, while we are in northern Tuscany.  We were not aware of the earthquake until we started receiving text messages from our friends and family in America. We didn’t feel the tremors and our neighbors didn’t either. A friend in Florence said that he and his wife, eating at the lunch table, felt the earthquake though.


We had hoped to add entries to the blog during our time here. But the telephone line had been disconnected from the house and the earliest appointment available was April 10.  We now have telephone and DSL service, two days prior to our return to the USA.


It is hard to believe we have been here for more than 3 weeks. The Serchio valley is incredibly beautiful and from our house there are beautiful views up and down the valley, as well as of the ancient hilltop town of Ghivizzano. Every window has a view of a castle or snow-scapped mountains. Rusty described the valley to me perfectly. It reminds us of the Rockies in Colorado. Through my artist / photographer eye, the vistas from our new home are inspiring, with a medieval village atop every nearby hill.


Ghivizzano (our town) is a wonderful little village, with everything close by: bread shop, small grocery, hardware, garden center, cake bakery, and bar.  (An Italian bar is often the heart of a town where you can have coffee and a roll for breakfast, a sandwich and Fanta for lunch, buy a train ticket to Lucca or play the Lotto, and eat gelato and an after-dinner drink in the evening.) The residents are a friendly bunch, all happy to make our acquaintance.  If you have ever lived in a small town, you can easily understand when I say that news of our arrival spread throughout the village quickly. We heard from our new friends David and Samantha (Sammy) that everyone was asking about us at Bar Sport. Since we have been here, we have been invited to dinner by several families, a local journalist wants to write a story about the Americans moving into town, and a neighbor has offered her daughter to Rusty as a wife.


Last week we drove from the Serchio valley over the Alpuan Alps and down to the sea.  I was left speechless by the beauty. (Not really. I am never without words.) At almost every turn there was a medieval castle, a gothic church, or a small village encrusted on the side of the mountain.  At the mountain pass, as I marveled at the marble quarries below, the clouds were at my feet and the mountain peaks towered overhead. Winding our way down towards the sea, the snow-capped mountains were seldom out of view. We were fortunate to be descending as the sun set. Each ancient village glowed in the sunlight, more spectacular than any painting I have seen.







We have accomplished most of what we wanted to do on this visit. Our main goal was to see our new home and begin to renew it as a residence. (It has been empty for three years.) Some restoration is needed (more than Rusty realized on his first visit), so wish us luck on this next phase.


We will be posting more images soon. Check the other tabs of this blog for updates (with photos).