Sunday, October 30, 2011

Amandola: a love affair turns 10

This month marks something of a milestone for me. It was exactly 10 years ago – October, 2001 – when I first visited a town in the heart of the Sibillini Mountains in the Central Italian region of Le Marche. I was so enamored with the place, I immediately thought: I gotta ring my bank manager.  The place, as you know from this blog, is Amandola. I had a little money left in my bank account, just enough to make a down-payment on a stone house sitting on the top of a hill, one that overlooked a valley and the front ridge of the Sibillini Mountains. The sun was shining bright. I stood on a stony lane under an old oak. I was desperate curious to see the inside of the house, but Michael, who had the keys, insisted we first go take a walk, to look around the 'hood, to come to this spot and take in a view I'll never tire of: the midieval spa town, Sarnano, in the valley below, the mountains soaring above, the hilltop towns of Gualdo, San Ginesio sparkling in the sun just beyond.

It took a few months for the sale to close. I had the keys the following March. I was cutting the grass in April, and again in May and June. I was swimming in the sea in July and in the mountain lakes in August. I was discovering a new culture, improving my pigeon Italian and re-acquainting myself with the art of home repairs. I lived in London at the time and got out as often as I could, which, thanks to Ryanair, was fairly often. We threw big pizza bashes and barbeques and, later, we had some amazing Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's feasts. As the name suggests (in Italian, Amandola can be broken into "amando la," or loving her) I fell in love with the place. And I still am we still are. Amandola is now a wondrous playground for the Garba twins. Our summer get-away is now the highlight of the year.

Now, this is not a 10-year anniversary thing, but I do have a new site that explains a bit more about the house, and the region and the things about the place that we've discovered over the years. It's called Sibillini Slow. And, I've set up a Facebook page for it as well. Please check it out and follow us.

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