It Has Been a Whirlwind Week in Italy

February 14, 2017

Wow! I mean WOW! It has been a wonderful week in Italy. Oh, there have been ups and downs. That is to be expected even in my naïve Italian world view. Piano, piano. E’ la vita. That means, Take it slowly. It is the way life works here.

When I parted from my cousin Sonseere in Arpino, I headed north to Liguria, to the town of Chiavari, where I would like to live forever. First of all, I had no idea how far apart Sonseere and I would be when I settled in Chiavari. I am senza una machina, without a car. I am a train person. But, that was a LONG trip.

After arriving, dragging too much luggage to my hotel and collapsing, I rested a bit before beginning my apartment hunt in Chiavari. For those of you who do not know about the towns in Liguria, Chiavari is a lovely, medieval town hugging la spiaggia, the beach, along the blue Mediterranean Sea. Approximately 28,000 people live there year-round, and train service is very good. Also, in the warmer months, there are ferry boats leaving from the port that will take you to the towns of Cinque Terre, Portofino and Portovenere.  

I found an apartment that was perfect for me and it included a view of the sea.  I applied for it. I knew things would be different but I had no idea just how different. I gave them my Italian Passport, my Codice Fiscale, like your social security card, and I showed them my information for my Carta Identica, an I.D. card that shows where you live. I offered to pay the downpayment and three months in advance. I was happy to sign a one year lease, and, if I loved living in Chiavari, I would sign a permanent lease next year. The agent and I got along well and she thought it was a GO. Six days later, I was rejected by the owners. They decided to only rent it for the summer months. They would charge quite a bit more. I was homeless again.

However, after applying for my dream apartment, I headed back south to Maremma in southern Tuscany, complete with rolling hills, open spaces and rows of olive trees plus wineries. Before getting pneumonia while in Arpino, I had planned to spend an entire month in an Italian Homestay in Maremma. I would study la lingua italiana, the Italian language, while living with an Italian family. Only Italian is spoken here.

La mia Insegnante, my teacher, is Virginia Villani. She speaks fluent English and, Japanese plus some French too. She is a mother of two elementary school children and her husband Gianni works professionally outside the home. Virginia also offers guest rooms here on their farm in Maremma. But for me, it is 3 meals per day, 2 hours of Italian lessons daily and all day interacting in Italian with family and friends. For more information contact,

We also visit other locales.

Our first excursion took us to an 11th Century ruin of The Convent of San Bruzio. It is in the middle of a field and is just lovely. Many people choose to have their marriages performed here.

After enjoying San Bruzio, we drove to the hilltop town of Magliano. It was a damp and windy day but what a wonderful, if short experience. I have always enjoyed a bit of Medieval construction.

And views of the fields of Tuscany.

Our next outing took us to the sea. First we had a short visit to Obetello and its bay area.  We then drove onto San Stefano by the sea.

One benefit of traveling in February is that you are probably the only tourist in these places. They are uncrowded and parking is easy. I loved the pier here.

After walking around San Stefano, we drove up above it and above Orbetello for some spectacular views.

Then it was back home for la cena con la Famiglia, dinner with the family, and I competi, homework. The next day I took the photo of the moon right outside my bedroom door. The moon was almost full. Let that moon hold you until the next installment of my adventure in my Homestay in Maremma. I hope you are enjoying this adventure along with me. There will be more to come soon. Wish you were here.

Ciao for now!

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