When I first see the house it is about 7:30 on an August evening– that magical moment just before twilight when the heat finally gives up its grip on the day and the air and sky take on a tiny hint of color, beckoning the sunset. We’ve driven from Venice– about 5 hours, after flying overnight from New York. We’re tired and we’ve left our bags at the agriturismo where we’ve stayed for the last 3 years. But we bought this house in January, sight unseen for me and our daughter Sophie, and we have to see it before the ritual first-night-in-Italy pizza at the only bar/ristorante in our town.
The house is nestled in a valley, midway between the Sibillini Mountains and the Adriatic. You can look down on the roof of the house from the ridge along which the town road runs. Formerly a “white” road– a mix of gravel and white clay– the road has been newly paved with asfalto by the commune. So our first glimpse is from that road, looking down on the old terra cotta tiled roof, a cozy house tucked onto the side of a hill. We make the turn onto the rutted path that runs to the house, formerly neatly cobbled with stones used by oxen to reach the stream in the lower part of the valley– but now clotted with mud, gravel and tractor tire tread marks.
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