I’m “home”

I arrived in Benano this morning, and I felt my pace slow as I walked through the village gate and into such a profoundly different place.  I entered the tranquillity of this walled fortress on foot because the gate and roads are much too small for cars.  The village was built as a military garrison some 1,000 years ago by people focused on protecting Orvieto from the from the Sienese.  They weren’t thinking about conveniences for vehicles.  Fair enough – it’s important to have priorities!

The panoramic views once provided Benano protection from invaders.  Now they just provide simple pleaure.  The scenery — vineyards and olive groves in the foreground and Orvieto in the distance — is ancient and serene.

Benano is home to 10 Italian families and a few weekenders and vacation homeowners.  English is practically never spoken, and there is no commerce in the village.  The neighbors are quietly friendly, and quite curious.  When the four of us who eventually bought the house were still looking it, the number townfolk hanging around oh-so-nonchalantly seemed to grow each time we came for another look.  They have since welcomed us and are happy to have younger people and more life in the village.

This morning, a neighbor greeted us as we came through the gate.  Jeff, our friend and partner (and my chauffeur for the morning) reminded her that I was back, as promised, to study Italian.  As I got further into town and approached our front steps, I said hi to our closest neighbor.  Our front doors share a small piazza with about 5 other neighbors, but she is out and about more than the others.  She assured us she remembered me and welcomed me back.  I hope to practice Italian with her and get to know her a bit.

Deep breath.  I’m “home.”  It will soon be home without the quotation marks.

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8 Comments on “I’m “home”

  1. Hi Karen,

    Thanks for sharing your blog and wonderful pictures. What an amazingly beautiful place!!! I think all the blog can be put into a beautiful book.

    Look forward to connecting when you return to your other home!

    Enjoy!!!

    Barbara

  2. Just caught up on the blog and thoroughly enjoyed every luscious word and image. What a wonderful adventure. THANK YOU so much for so graciously thinking to share it with us all. You’re living the dream.

    I wonder if living in the midst of major renovations will be pleasant for you but I know that your “Under the Umbrian Sun” postings will be a treat for us.

  3. What a great first post from Italy! Will keep checking back for more. Enjoy the trip and keep us updated. One question–have you found the appropriate person to lobby about opening a grocery store nearby???

    • I’ve been meaning to talk to someone about that ….
      Actually, I had quite a time shopping today – I’ll write about that soon.

  4. Karen

    OMG! I want to be there. As I look outside our window, light snow is falling. Take me away to Italy!

    • I was out in some weird and wacky weather today, too. It was gorgeous this morning, then when I went out again in early afternoon, it seemed to be threatening rain and there was thunder in the distance. I was shopping in Bolsena (a pretty town on the shore of a lake) when I heard this unsettling noise and realized it was hail. I heard it before I saw or felt it. It seemed to clear up again, but it’s been pouring off and on for an hour or so. As luck would have it, I’ve been home for an hour and 15 minutes or so! Be careful on your way home.

  5. Bravo! Welcome to the world of long-term travel and travel blogging! It’s a wonderfully amazing, brilliant, fascinating world, and we’re lucky to have you in it!

    I’ll follow the blog with great interest. Love the posts so far! Keep up the great work (funny…it doesn’t feel like work, does it?) and have a fabulous experience! much love, p

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