Umbrian Hilltown tours of “Auntie Annie”
No greater joy than sharing the wonders of Umbria with the young ones. But I don’t end every family tour as “Auntie Annie” ! I did after three wonderful days this November with Kathleen and Jon and their lovely children, Aeriel (11) and Van (5). We toured Assisi and Spello one day and on another day, Perugia and Deruta where Giuseppa’s homemade lasgna and warm smile won them all.
Our final tour together, the Rural Life Revisited tour, might have been the highlight of the Italy stay of this San Diego family. Chiarina won over little Van when she made us bruschetta with the olio novello. Kathleen and Jon enjoyed tasting the family’s wine. When farm friend Gentile asked Aeriel to stay and live with her, Aeriel asked her mother, Kathleen, if she could say “SI”.
Jon helped Gentile’s husband Peppe unload the huge stainless steel cannisters of their olive oil, just back from the mill. Wine-tasting here, too, with Peppe who also proudly showed us the family prosciutti, hanging in the storeroom.
At Olga and Amerigo’s, our banquet farm lunch was highlighted with buonissimo wild boar, shot by Amerigo and cooked by Olga. Amerigo is an astounding sculptor and even the stock of his most prized wild boar gun is carved: a wild boar hunt on one side, his dogs on the other.
Not easy to say arrivederci to this wonderful California family. But I think they will be back: Aeriel for sure! Gentile is waiting…
Here is a note to me from Aeriel, age 11
“Let me start out by saying YOU ROCK! You are such a blessing in our lives and I will always remember all of the memories I had in Italy. It was such a splendid adventure and your company made it even better… You are so special to me, Aunite Anne / Your lively sprit and warm heart just lift me up! and you have so many wonderful gifts and I never want you to doubt yourself no matter where life takes you (I mean every word I am saying) You are so wonderful …and I love you ! Thank you for all of you wonderful hospitality and comfort and bless you!”
– and from Jon, Aeriel and Van’s father
“Anne, you are THE BEST. Funny, charming and a great historian and story/teller. And one of Van and Aeriel’s best babysitting/guides of all time!”
Jon S., San Diego, CA
– and here is a word from mother, Kathleen:
“Anne, I had no pre-concieved notion of the time we would have in Umbria – thanks to your tours, I am satiated with satisfaction! Grazie grazie grazie! We will return …and as I told our Van this morning, now that we know Anne, we will know Anne all our whole lives. Bless you and your happy home, Pino, your kids and YOUR Italy! I cannot WAIT to see Gentile again and Chiarina and Olga. Love to all of them …and Van asked me today, ‘ Mom, we are going back to Italy, right?’ When I said ‘yes’, he said, ‘ Well, don’t forget, you have to drop me off at that little old lady’s house who needed my help to walk – so that I can help her with the animals. Don’t worry, Mom, it’ll just be during the day because they don’t have a bed for me to sleep in at night…”