As you may have read on this blog in the past weeks, I’ve been at Elba Island for Easter break, and definitely enjoyed it: the first, cool and sunny days of spring, rains and the last fruits of winter mingled with the delicate blooms of early spring… I loved it, all of it.
And now that I’ve come back home, I’ve found that here in Rome our gorgeous, hot and sunny spring is definitely and well arrived, hopefully settled for days to come: I know it may sound sappy, but these are the things that make me notice how truly lucky we are. I love spring.
The ones among you that have been here in Rome in the past, know how good our weather is, and how beautiful our city looks under a definitely Italian-blue, cloudless and sunny sky; but probably few of you, especially if you’re not Italian, know about Elba Island, home to my paternal grandmother’s family: it’s a little but gorgeous Island near the coast of Tuscany; it is famous especially for its mines and for Napoleon’s exile there, and it has been a hugely notorious vacation destination during the ’70ies. For me, it has simply been our home-base for many long childhood summers.
Our little home belonged to the aunt of my grandmother’s dad, and, even if old and worn, it is placed in a magical position: high on one of those dry, ancient hills the island is known for, it dominates the gulf of Lacona and the medieval church Madonna della Neve, the olive orchards and vineyards punctuated in heavy-walled and tile roofed farmsteads, down to the sea and the famous Montecristo Island beyond. It is truly magnificent, and, when night comes, we can admire the dark skies and unnumbered stars above us. The little garden is fenced in pine trees planted by my grandmother’s dad, where we used to collect pine nuts for our dad’s honey and pine nuts nougat in the days of our childhood.
To this day we meet up with friends of old, the ones that our parents and grandparents hanged out with when younger and the ones with whom we played when we were but little children. Sometimes we found pleasant surprises, though.
This year, I’ve discovered that in the olive orchard just beneath our house, for example, has taken residence a she-pig with a baby boar that was abandoned by his mother. Now, he is raised by the pig, among olive trees and – yes, that’s true! – wild calla lilies scattered here and there among the grass. Everywhere, in the blooming vineyards and at the side of the road, oranges and lemons, grapefruits and sour oranges – the last treasures of winter – hung heavily from the trees, borage and muscaris, daisies and forget-me-nots at their feet, apricot and apple branches already charged with blossoms.
I love it all.