A pretty perfect final day–hot, sunny and breezy. After my workout and a big, gorgeous peach, I do a little packing, a little organizing. Then BW, Kat and I go of to La Foce with its big beautiful villa and gardens, its olive groves, and its smallish–we’re told–olive oil business. It’s a nice drive, fairly close, with Kat competently behind the wheel.
We don’t even get lost!
At a big archway leading to a courtyard there’s a sign, in Italian and English. For olive oil tasting hit bell hard. LOL. There’s a big bell and a hammer/striker. BW does the honors, and it tolls very, very loudly.
We see people–kids. This part of the estate is also a kind of B&B with several apartments for guests. Looks like a lovely place to stay. A Brit couple manages it, and the woman answers the gong.
We wait briefly for her husband, and he takes us around, into a good-sized basement area and the olive pressing equipment. A couple big, shiny tankish things, a few big shiny vats. Since I tell him I do want to know, he explains how it’s all done, from harvesting on Old Soul’s day with tools that look like hands to the pressing machine that makes what he calls green pudding, then the filtering, separating the slurry from the oil. The slurry, after a year as it’s initially too strong–goes back into the soul as compost. Nothing’s wasted.
They get about one bottle from each tree, which explains why they have a thousand or so.
The oil never sees the light of day after going in the presser until the can or bottle is opened.
We sample the four different oils they make–and a fifth that’s a special blend of the four. Tiny little plastic cups, and you just toss the oil back like a shot of tequila. The first is strong and peppery. I like it! Each has a slightly different flavor, so we pick our favorites and buy some to take home.
I ask him how long he’s lived here, expecting him to say years. 13 months only. They came for three months, as temporary managers during a transition, loved it and talked the owner into keeping them on.
The grounds, the buildings, the view? I can understand why they wanted to stay on.
Back to our own villa. Kat and Jason are going on a last adventure–another castle we can see high on a hill. I boil up some rigatoni and toss it in some of Antonella’s wonderful red sauce. BW polishes off the last of the risotto. A pretty, quiet last lunch looking out over the hills.
Some reading, a little more packing, some walking to take in all the views again.
Antonella’s here, fixing dinner. We requested some of our favorites–a hard choice–for our ‘last supper’. I enjoy some conversation with her, have some wine, hang out with my gang. We take a fun, trick photo–a panarama. Jason at the camera, the rest of us posing on the west side of the lawn looking out. As he pans away, we run behind him, then plop down in the chairs BW’s arranged, and are in the photo again on the other side.
Our last sunset is beautiful, soft reds spreading.
Dinner is another marvel.
Asia comes, and as we’ve expressed interest, bring her two dogs–both hounds she’s rescued. The first she’s had about a year–a little thing, sweet as they come who was, she tells us, abandoned as too often hunting dogs are in the area. Very sick and starving when Asia found her. The bigger dog, so, so skinny, she found only last week. She takes her to the vet every day for treatment as she has kidney issues right now. Such a sweet face, and so gentle and calm. She’s already gained two kilos under Asia’s care.
I liked Asia right away, but like her even more for her open and generous heart.
We follow tradition and have a last drink with Asia and Antonella–we’ll miss them!
Off to bed just as the moon rises over the trees to the north east.
This morning, it’s finish packing, a final breakfast, then off to the airport for the long trip home.
We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect two-week holiday, from the bustle of art-washed Florence, to the absolute glory of the Tuscan countryside.