Farneta II

Friends were coming to stay. They had come before so we were looking for a new place to show them – the Abbey of Farneta! We had not wanted to return and disturb memories after Don Felice died. It was deserted. None of the buzz it had when he was alive – what could...

​Farneta I

Some years ago I was driving across the hills rising above the  Tuscan Val di Chiana and passed a large, abandoned church. A few days later I returned to find the 10th-century Abbey of Farneta and Don Felice. The Abbey had lost most of its surrounding buildings by the...

Crackling

Beppino’s family have lived in this Tuscan valley for centuries. He was standing on the terrace above us surveying the valley. I thought, ‘Leonardo da Vinci once stood here to draw his map of the then malarial valley, now in the collection of Queen Elizabeth. He...

Living History

There was some excitement in the class of seven-year-olds. We were to welcome two new members in our class. I didn’t think more about it until I passed two strangely-dressed women at the school gates; their hems too long and their faces deeply lined, they looked much...