This morning, I drove back up that narrow, windy road to visit Carine and Mario at their Relais Il Pozzeto (see last post on ‘kindness’ ). It would be a good day to visit, they had said, because they weren’t going to be too busy. When I arrived, I received a very warm welcome. Indeed, a remarkably calm, un-hurried welcome, given that they were still serving guests breakfast. It was a beautiful summer’s day, with a light breeze, up there in the hills above Anghiari.
While Mario continued with the breakfast (he does all the cooking), Carine showed me around their lovely place. It was built in the 17th century as a Francescan monastery – these monasteries all seem to have been built in stunningly beautiful locations. Carine and Mario have been here for 9 years. She is Belgian, previously worked for the European commission, and speaks French, Dutch, Italian and English. He comes from Anghiari, and previously ran a plumbing business there. Their guests come from all over the world – today, there was a party from Mexico – and they specialise in weddings.
This is a photo of Carine and Mario in front of a bed of zucchini flowers, ready to be picked. The impressive organic kitchen garden is flourishing with summer herbs and vegetables – lettuces, basil, and tomato plants on their way. Surrounding the houses there are beautiful gardens, with borders of lavender and rosemary, and fig trees, and hens grubbing about around the rose bushes.
The view through the olive trees is magnificent.
When I said ‘a little paradise’, Carine laughed – ‘and a lot of work’. What gracious hosts they are.