How We Spent our Summer Vacation–Le Mandorelle
A week of our trip to Italy was spent with friends. Together we rented a lovely country home and adjoining guesthouse outside of Monticello, Italy. The route included driving the steep and winding road through Monticello. We were warned to shift into first gear when we saw the Monticello city limit sign. We were glad we listened to the warning. Monticello is as dramatic as it is small. We no sooner entered the small town than we were leaving it. Our destination, Le Mandorelle, more than justified the challenge to reach it. Its owners are former residents of Kansas City. The property is 12 acres and includes a residence with 3 large bedrooms bathroom suites, a guest cottage with two bedrooms, and two baths, 3 dining areas and a large patio area.
In addition to a pool, the grounds include lush gardens with roses in bloom all around us. There were rows of grapes, olive trees, a vegetable garden and geraniums. The vegetable garden is for guests and we did not hesitate to enjoy the benefits. There were honey bees everywhere. While we were in residence the owners harvested the grapes, olives and honey. He is on the property almost daily, not to bother us but to attend to the farm. We see him in his yellow beekeeper’s protective gear as he harvest the honey. His biggest concern that day is the death of his queen bees and the urgency to replace them. With two days new queens are in residence and the hive is back in business.
Our host gave us a lasagna for our first meal which is truly delicious. It was made from a wonderful sausage, mushrooms, truffles, cheese and pasta. All it needs was to be heated. Despite our combined efforts it took two hours to figure out how to heat the magnificent but confusing gas stove. But with salad, bread and pasta we sat and talked about travels in the past and the week in front of us. The fully equipped kitchen, outside pizza oven, and supplies of our hosts’ vegetables, wine and olive oil, made meals here a dream.
Finally, the panoramic view added to the pleasure of our residence. Not only did the hills roll unendingly into each other, but the farms and estates themselves followed the curves of the land. The view was not the patchwork of square or rectangular plots we see in Kansas and Missouri but consisted of waves of crops, plowed lands and forests of green. The colors of the landscape include deep greens and straw yellows. The crops included acres of sunflowers drying in place until the seeds are ready to harvest. Our September stay enabled us to have the satisfaction of watching first hand the completion of the harvest. It is a special place and we felt privileged to enjoy the property to its fullest. But now, on to Umbria.