I met Cindy on Instagram the way many of us are meeting these days, liking posts, commenting, and chatting with other Silver Sisters.
Captivated by gorgeous photos of her idyllic life of bunnies, critters, and gardens coupled with photos of one of my favorite places on earth, Italy- I was drawn in and we started communicating. I asked Cindy to share about her love for all things Italian.
Roads Less Traveled
Do you ever love a place so much that it feels like it’s a part of you and you ache to return over and over? That’s how I feel about Italy.
From the time I started learning Italian, having barely turned 21 (many years ago!), I felt like I had received a transfusion of pure Italian blood. I was never the same again. My purpose at that time was to serve a mission for my church and had been called to live in northern Italy for 18 months. After I returned home, I met Keith, who had had a similar experience in northern Italy. We soon married and dreamed of returning to our beloved adopted country.
Though we were relatively poor newlyweds, our whole focus was on saving enough money to return to Italy, which we ended up doing many times. At first, we camped, then, as children came (all adopted from India!), we took them with us. Over the years, we have explored all of the regions of Italy, some many times.
A few years ago, we decided it was time to invest in property there, so we would have a place to call home whenever we could spend a few weeks. With the help of an Italian friend, we ended up purchasing an 800-year-old medieval tower that is part of an ancient castle complex in Umbria, the “Green Heart of Italy.” The tower is mostly a place for us to stay when we are in Italy, but after we started renting it occasionally by word of mouth, we found that everyone who stayed there also wanted to visit the famous “Cinque Terre” on the Italian Riviera in the north. After another search, we purchased an old mill complex where we can also enjoy that stunning part of Italy and rent out apartments for vacationers.
In our travels, though we enjoy the historic and cultural attractions of the larger cities, it’s the countryside, castles, small villages and hill towns we love the most. A common occurrence is to be driving on a winding county road, and both Keith and I spontaneously gasp, point, and say “look at that!” “I want to go there!” It’s a love that we share, that brings us closer together, knowing exactly how the other feels.
I haven’t even mentioned the food, the language, the wonderful, loving Italian people. There is just so much I could share about my beloved Italy!
I will quickly mention some of my favorite places in Italy, then leave you to feel free to contact me and ask anything you like.
Starting in the northeast, if you love mountains and villages, the Dolomite mountains are some of the most stunning in the world. Moving a bit southwest, my favorite city in Italy is Verona. Then, further southwest to the Riviera, where we own our mills. The hill towns in this area are numerous and spectacular. The Cinque Terre have become a bit too popular for our taste, so we prefer the less famous Tellaro and Camogli.
Working our way south into Tuscany, we love the less popular area southwest of Siena. Then, driving east into Umbria, Perugia is a lovely small city. All through Umbria it is magical just to drive the winding country roads through hillsides covered with vineyards, olive groves, and beautiful hill-top villages.
South to Abruzzo are more spectacular mountain villages. And Molise is an area of undiscovered beauty unknown outside of Italy. As you go further south, you will discover more villages, ancient olive groves… and Matera a city of caves that we discovered many years ago, before GPS, when we were lost on the wrong road.
Sicily also offers some lovely towns by the sea, and inland….so much to see, but Ciao for now!
Instagram: @orchardhill_life @torritower