Ah, yes, all my relatives especially Mrs. Phactor and the F1 think my retirement was a brilliant move. Well, at least the part where TPP rented (actually Mrs. Phactor made this happen if truth be known and credit is given where credit is due) a villa so that everyone had an excuse to visit Tuscany. Presently the number of visitors is 9; next week it’s just 4 (but more troublesome types), then 4 more, and then 5 more the week after that. Thirteen relatives (rent-a-mob), 8 friends, and a young German biologist, go figure. How’s that for instigating travel? How's that for mooching? The Italian tourist bureau should be giving us a medal! Is it an actually villa, you may ask? Sadly no, firstly because Torre a Cona is the summer manor house of the Count Rossi di Montelera, so it actually isn’t for rent, and secondly because TPP was just a university professor, but the estate has a number of residences that are within TPP’s price range. Look down the hill to the right of the monstrous manor house and you’ll see the 3rd floor loft of our quite spacious, pinkish Tuscan residence sticking up above the olive trees. It’s disappointing that the Count has not walked, or driven, or been driven, down the hill to greet us yet, so he’s probably busy, or just most likely he doesn’t realize who his tenants are. He makes some very good wine & olive oil. Obviously vineyards and olive groves dominate the agricultural landscape here abouts, although a great many other tree fruits are grown in way smaller amounts: apples, peaches, plums, figs, cherries, and even a medlar here or there. The scenery is just wonderful with manor houses, fortresses, and little towns dotting the hilly landscape with ochre and red tile splotches amid the green of orchards and vineyards. The fresh produce is quite nice and surprisingly extensive. It appears that testing the concept that someone could get tired of Italian food may take some time. By almost anyone’s standards the assembled troops are eating and drinking very well. Mrs. Phactor is on a quest to do 30 gelato flavors in 30 days. Hercules should have had such tasks! Today she checked off mango & lemon. Do the Italians make a sausage that isn’t terrific? Do they make a cheese that isn’t wonderful? Do they make a bread that doesn’t have a nice crust? The world wants to know. Someone has to try to find out. TPP is the man to let you know. Ciao.
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