Monday, January 26, 2015

What happened at Villa il Focardo

 The Einstein Family Tragedy at
Villa il Focardo, Rignano sull'Arno

Some might be surprised to learn that in the 1920s and '30s the family of Albert Einstein had Tuscan connections. Sadly, these connections were to end in tragedy during World War II. 
This is the story of the events which unfolded at Villa il Focardo near Rignano sull'Arno, to the south-east of Florence, in the summer of 1944.

At the end of Italy's Second World War, while the Germans were retreating from the peninsula, the Allies advancing north, these softly undulating hills of the Arno valley were just one of many locations caught in that ghastly endgame.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Monteriggioni Meditation

Doves, horses, donkeys, geese - and yoga

The drive from Le Ripe to Monteriggioni is one of Tuscany's finest, along the 222 to Castellina and then west down through open, rolling vineyards, olive plantations and wheatfields to the Val d'Elsa.

Monteriggioni is unmistakable, sitting on its hill above the highway like a crown, to paraphrase Dante. From this small hilltop town you can continue on to Siena or deviate to San Gimignano, as the pilgrims of the Via Francigena used to do; the signs are still there today for those who wish to retrace the pilgrims' path.

And yet, if you are searching for peace, quiet and a different perspective on life you might decide to turn right toward Gallinaio along an unsealed road.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Reflected Glory

One of our best sunsets yet

Le Ripe faces east and north, principally, so we usually miss the best of the sunset, but yesterday we were rewarded with a spectacular display. 
And this was only the reflected glory!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Winter walks

Here and There 
5 degrees Celsius and below

the view from halfway up our hill, looking east-south-east towards the Monti del Chianti

northeast towards Panzano from our hill

zooming in on Panzano, soft morning light

due north from the top of our hill towards Monte Bernardi, Piazza and Sicelle

river in the valley below Badiaccia Montemurro, near Radda