The Inspirational Spirit of Italians

One afternoon, as Giovanni and I were coming back from a day of hiking, we took a detour home to enjoy some of the countryside. The sights and smells inspired this entry but it kind of morphed after saving drafts of this and coming back with new ideas.

I really can’t explain how beautifully amazing this place is. It fills my heart and soul up so much sometimes I feel like I’m going to explode. Last week after work, we ran into Pietro and Helena. This beautiful couple inspires me. They actually make me want to be old. Helena has such an infectious smile. When I saw them drive away in their little mini truck and Helena waved, suddenly my exhuastion from work went away and I was ready for the weekend. Her smile made my whole week, and I was feeling great. I hope to capture a photo of them in their truck someday.

Acacia Tree

The way this place affects my mood and soul is incredible. If I was a better writer I might be able to explain it to you. But until then, bare with me.

Driving around the countryside of Italy in the spring is a must-do. The scenery gives me peace in my heart and reminds me how beautiful and simple life is. And when I close my eyes I can feel the warm Italian breeze with my arm out the window. On this particular day, I closed my eyes and couldn’t help but smile as a beautiful scent wafted it’s way past my nose. Suddenly, it seemed it seemed to engulf the atmosphere of the car so I opened my eyes. Lined up along the roadside were lines and groves of Acacia Trees. These beautiful trees are pretty simple, they don’t look particularly distinctive, but the aroma of them is overwhelming. They’re all over Italy and Giovanni says that they are the best flower for honey making bees. They usually bloom for a couple weeks in the spring and the bees go nuts. I wish I could capture the smell for you here, but it really is amazing.

Giovanni hopes to keep some bees at his new vineyard and lucky for him there is already a very large grove of these Acacia trees at the end of the property. The bee keeping course I was going to take with him was entirely in Italian so that was a no go for me. But during our days in the vineyard Giovanni has been teaching me what he’s been learning and bees are surprisingly fascinating to me.

Listening to Giovanni speak Italian or English is always quite entertaining, but then I find it entertaining listening to any of the Italians talk. They are such passionate people. Roberto was visiting the other day, and even though it’s hard for me to take him seriously at all, he did have a moment where he became very serious about his work. He is partnering with Giovanni to buy this new vineyard so they can keep making their own wine. Roberto and Giovanni make such a good team because Roberto is the business marketing savvy people person. Giovanni seems to be the one with the brains. They’re both smart, but Giovanni definitely has a much more serious side to him. We were joking and I told him that he and Giovanni should move their business to Washington and make wine there, and this very serious side of him came out. He basically said that it wouldn’t be right because the land in Italy is perfect for growing grapes and making wine, and that it is their tradition to make wine in their land. Even though this came out in broken English, it was still beautiful to me. The thought of being so devoted to an art that is tied to the history of your country and gives you that much pride. I’ve never felt that way about anything.

I watched a documentary the other day called Senza Trucco, which is about several female winemakers in Italy. It was all in Italian but I read the subtitles. If you can get a copy or stream it, I reccomend any of you to watch if you’re interested in all about the work I’m doing, because it captures it pretty well. It’s all about how they make wine organically, and the women are great. Incredibly strong spiritually and physically. This documentary perfectly captures the passion Italians have. One of the women, Dora, was my favorite. She is quite a bit older but feisty as ever. I especially love the part they capture during the harvest season and she is surrounded by young strapping young farm men, and she is out there in the fields working with them as well.

Which reminds me, the Italian women here are crazy strong. I keep seeing all these very old women around town and they are trucking along living life. Some of them look quite frail, but are still taking out a heavy bag of garbage over to the dumpster. Some of them like Helena are not as frail and in incredible shape. Helena is 83 years old (Pietro 84), but she’s out there killing chickens and farming on her own and ALWAYS with a smile on her face. Today her and Pietro invited Giovanni and I over for coffee after work. It turned into coffee and a bottle of wine and two hours of them telling us the history of the vineyard at San Michele and Cupramontana. They don’t speak English, but I was able to understand about 70% of what they were saying. They don’t smile for photos (I think that’s a generational thing) so I tried to sneak some in with my phone camera. They are such an inspirational couple, I want to be just like them when I’m old. They bring a smile to my face simply by existing in this world, and it’s people like them who make Italy such a beautiful place.

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