Monday, May 9, 2011

At home in Italy

Today was all about getting to know our Italian neighborhood. Our landlady Cristina gave us a driving tour of our village, Massa Macinaia – pointing out the supermarket, bank, restaurants and a deli famous for its gelato – and arranged for bicycles we can use the rest of the time.

Anselmo (Cristina’s father) is hesitant about us biking to Lucca, though he says around the neighborhood is okay. Even the neighborhood seems dicey to me. The roads are narrow and bike paths nonexistent. Even with very small cars, there is not room for two cars to pass if we are walking on the roadside. So far, everyone is gracious and we are still alive.

Our house – Le Macine – was formerly a horse stable and hay barn for the mill next door. Angled tiles maximized circulation and kept forage from rotting or spontaneously combusting. Now they serve as a quaint reminder of times past.

Our home is completely remodeled and modern. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen. Many Italians are converting properties to meet the interest of tourists. We found Le Macine on If you want to see more, go to and search for

After a wobbly start with our new wheels, we biked to the deli where we bought a “savory,” which means anything with bread and meat, as our breakfast. We also bought ‘due mele’ in homage to our Rosetta Stone language program that relied so heavily on apples. We ate the savories at outside tables and watched our bicycles blow over. It was quite windy all day, though the sunshine was bright and the temperature perfect. Then on to a well stocked supermarket.

Since we were carrying everything, we were mindful of weight. A bottle of wine. A loaf of bread. A chunk of cheese. Plus enough eggs and vegetables for an omelet were enough. I made it home without breaking the bottle of wine, the bottles of tomato juice or the eggs. Applause is in order!

In the afternoon, we walked another part of the neighborhood, checking out two churches that share a priest, windy streets that dissolve into home courtyards, and a cemetery that either is a family plot or a village cemetery for a berg populated only by Lucchesi’s or Franchesini’s.

We did tuck in a little writing today. I worked on my newest project – an e-book on book promotion. Mary waded into social media promotion. Heavy lifting on our novels begins tomorrow. Wish us well.



  1. So glad you are having a great time already! Love the bike picture and am happy you have a good friend to share the experience! Love you.

  2. Totally trying not to be envious (FAIL) and wish you well (WIN). I think I'll get a bottle of Italian wine to read your next posts with. :)

  3. The good life continues. We're in full writing mode today. We anticipate sampling every Chianti in the supermercado during the month. I'll lift my next glass to you two!