I'm not complaining at the time it's taken for summer to truly come. I'd rather this than drought or pestilence. And now we can be grateful, right? Our garbage is due to be collected tomorrow (the municipal emplyees went back at a minute after midnight Friday morning), the sun is shining, and the tomatoes, even my lovely green zebras, are at last ripening into sweet tenderness. yum!
My timing seems a little off then, for tomorrow evening I am booked to fly to Rome for nine days. Wow! I have never made a short trip to Europe in the summer, and the last time I was in Italy was for researching Seductions of Rice, as well as attending an Oldways conference in Puglia.
Nancy Jenkins (such a great travelling companion, and a good driver too) and I drove up the east coast from Lecce and then stopped in to see a guy who was experimenting with growing upland rice in the Marche, and also old varieties of wheat (there's a story about him in Seductions of Rice). We also headed into the Abruzzo where we had a terrific Sunday lunch at a small family restaurant in a stony hilltop village, then made it to Tuscany for a couple of days near Cortona. From there it was a straight shot to the Po Valley, and the lovely green of the rice-growing area around Vercelli. Along the way I remember seeing signs to Rome occasionally and pining at the idea that I wasn't going to get there on that trip.
This time I'm headed to Umbria to stay with friends, what a treat! but expect to have a couple of days in Rome at the end. Yes, it's August, and lots of places are closed, and the population is all tourists, and, and... But if I can get to the Villa Julia to see Etruscan wonders (somehow I've never been) and can wander a little, and maybe seek out again some of the wonderful mosaics I saw when I was last in Rome (in May 1977, yikes!) it will feel like an extra gift. I remember loving the mosaics, and the feel, at Santa Agnese and Santa Sabina, so perhaps that's where I'll try to head.
And maybe there's no need for any ambition at all. Just being and breathing in a place with layers of life is a way of connecting imaginatively, no?