Phew! I’m finally caught up on the blog. I had some photo loading issues that I think have been resolved so I should be able to keep it more updated moving forward. I jammed a lot into the last couple of posts and didn’t have time to go into a lot of detail.
I’m so very happy about the way this trip is going. Hunter seems to be loving everything, is very engaged, and wants to see everything he can. We’ve taken it slow and easy for the first few days to give him some time to acclimate and rest. The rest of the trip will be a good bit more hectic as we go to Florence tomorrow and then to Rome for the rest of the week. I always love when we travel with others because they see things you don’t and notice different aspects than you. This is especially true with Hunter. His perspective on things is refreshing and I love looking at the world through 18-year-old eyes. Well, most of the time, anyway!
This morning Steve and Hunter toured the Busatti workroom where they make their fabrics using old shuttle looms. They have a bigger factory not far from here, but this one is operational and produces quite a bit of fabric. Since we are in the same building, we can hear the looms working during the day.
In trying to plow through what we’ve done, I think I forgot to mention that on Friday we saw Giovanni. Giovanni Sassolini is the head of Busatti. His mother was a Busatti and he carried on the family business. Two of his sons now run the business and he is mostly retired. He is responsible for allowing us the use of this wonderful apartment and has been a great friend to us over the years. I told Hunter just before he met Giovanni that he was about to meet the nicest man in the world. He is truly a dear, dear person and a kind and gentle soul.
He took us up to his country house, Il Fornello. We’ve been there many times and really wanted Hunter to see it. So we all piled into his 1987 BMW convertible, along with his dog Arthur, and trekked up the mountain to Il Fornello. I don’t know why I didn’t take any pictures – it was just such a magical experience seeing Giovanni tell the story of the history of the place to Hunter that I simply forgot.
Today we had lunch with Livio, Anna, Francesca, and Michelangelo. Livio is Giovanni’s middle son and Anna is his wife and Francesca is their 2-and-a-half year old daughter. Again, I forgot to take pictures, but it was a very nice lunch and great to catch up with them. Livio and Anna are expecting a baby boy in November so we were thrilled to celebrate that news with them.
After lunch we drove to Gubbio. It’s about an hour away from Anghiari and is built into the hillside as if it’s climbing up the hill to the top. We love its winding streets that go up, up, up and the big piazza.
We had quite an adventure there. We took this kind of finicular up to the very top of the mountain. It’s this little open air cage that you stand up in and ride up the mountain. Only two people per cage, so Hunter wanted to ride by himself. It was incredibly cool.
The views from the top were amazing and there’s a beautiful old church up there. I’m not quite sure why there’s a church way up there, but there it is and they were actually having a mass. I don’t know who attends this church, but it is lovely. We also found a great leather shop that had all kinds of fountain pens and inks. Hunter was in heaven and bought a couple of pens and some ink.
As we were on the way down from the mountain, I noticed a crossbow range next to the finicular station. It’s the same one that we visited years ago with Tim and Julie and an Italian friend of ours, Raffelle. Fortunately, there were a couple of people practicing and we watched for a bit. This gentlemen hit a bullseye while we were there. Pretty amazing.
For dinner we went to one of our favorite places, Pieve Vecchia, out in the countryside near Monterchi. They have an extensive menu, from pizza to steak, and the food is always good, but the setting is gorgeous. We sat outside with views over Monterchi and the little thunderstorms scattering over the mountains.
Hunter had his first calzone and although it was good, he’s decided to stick with pizza from now on. Steve had his first bite of steak since we were here in September. Italy is the only place he eats beef and it is truly worth the wait.
It was another great day here – perfect weather and new adventures. Tomorrow we go to Florence for the day. Should be a lot to report from that trip!