Winter garden bring thoughts of travel in Italy



I’ve now had enough time to digest the amazing trip to Italy we took this past year. The Tuscan Valley is magnificent of course but I had never seen it in early autumn and it was, as always, a huge revelation.  One revelation was: don’t take a new camera on a trip if you don’t know how to use it. I messed up with my shots and barely have any record of this trip except what’s in my head.

This is Linda Clay and me at Ninfa one of the truly magnificent gardens on a trip of amazing gardens and sights. You can see we’re pretty happy.

That orange bag on my shoulder was bought in Cortona and I learned another thing on this trip:  if you see something in Italy, buy it immediately. It will not be available in the next town.  These things are very regional, very personal in many cases to the people selling. them. I should have bought all the other colours but no….couldn’t make up my mind how spend the very little I wanted to spend.

In Pienze the next town we stayed in, my good old MBT sandals fell apart making them unwalkable. I was guided to a shoemaker who pointed out all the stuff he was working on. I tried to explain my problem (no mutual language here except hands) and he had them ready for me the next day. Cost:  a mind boggling seven euros. I almost threw my arms around him but settled with handshakes and smiles.

What a country. Everywhere we went we found people incredibly receptive and kind. The food of course is non-pareil and we had magnificent meals at the home of Guiseppe, Sarah and Elise Sesti. We tasted their wines, olive oil and nose-dived into masses of  local charcouterie and bread. Then a great tour of Sarah’s garden.  I get to love them more on each visit.

Another unforgettable meal:  at Susan Mackenna Grants agrotourismo farm. Everything we had in an 8-course meal came from the farm.  Somewhere I have a picture of me about to collapse with joy at the food, the wine and the energetic and lovely talk of my table mates.

The people on this trip were so much fun. And I’ve become what will be long term friends with a few since them. We’ve even had a celebratory gathering (tea which  meant some very nice wine and lots of food) and a catch up on each other’s pix (mine euyuck), passing around of prints (thank you thank you) and plans to meet again.

 This little interview was done in the Countess Ruspoli’s garden. She’s the one doing in the interpretation. It was one of those totally seamless and magical days which was typical of the trip. We saw glorious countryside, then settled in for a lunch on a patio overlooking the countryside. Afterwards we listened to a concert of autitioning young people for the Ruspoli Prize.  Sublime doesn’t even begin to describe this day.  It haunts me that everyday is not in some way like this. <;v=BUIY4IO7GVk>


This year we’re going to the Amalfi Coast and you can read about it by clicking on the button in the header.  Love to see you there  Marjorie

  • Barry Parker

    January 6, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Great Picture. I am, of course, green with envy. I’m longing to see Ninfa!

  • Maureen

    January 6, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    I am verdant with envy… would so love to see Italy again and especially the gardens, the vineyards and eat the marvellous food! One of these years, perhaps, the stars will align perfectly so I can join you. It all sounds too wonderful.
    Best, Maureen

  • Susie

    January 6, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Ditto Barry and Maureen,

    I loved Italy years ago and I will return.

    Nice to hear from you Marjorie, perhaps next year.

    Regards, Susie

  • Marjorie Harris

    January 7, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Ninfa is one of those glorious places which should be on everyone’s list. But each time I’ve been there it is uninhabited because you need a guide to go through. It’s a medieval village ravage in the 13th century and that’s what the garden is built among: the ancient ruins. Water runs through it everywhere. I would love to see it in June when all the thousands of roses are in bloom. I am one lucky dame. Amalfi Coast this year and a completely different experience.

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    January 14, 2013 at 11:54 pm

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    February 5, 2013 at 12:38 am

    “Marjorie Harris’ Blog ? Winter garden bring thoughts of travel in Italy” was in fact a splendid blog, can’t wait to read more of ur blog posts. Time to squander some time online hehe. Thanks a lot -Lydia

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