An Oliveless Autumn

Autumn is particularly lovely in Tuscany with the red pomegranates – often with an open gash – set in bushes turning bright yellow. No olives to speak of this year because of the relentless dry spring and summer. In May the sun dried the small, unexciting flowers off...

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...

Tuscan Shrines

Summer has ended in a series of thunderstorms and the parched land is already speckled with shoots of green. No hailstones as big as tennis balls, the locals with vineyards and olive groves murmur in relief, but both harvests are bad this year. That is because of the...