I love this place so much. Incredible beauty, fascinating history and affectionate people who treat you like long lost relatives after one meeting. Even the dog’s are friendly in Italy.
I’ve observed, in my limited travels of UK and Europe, that dogs from different countries behave differently towards us. Dogs in Australia, seem to me to be over-the-top happy, licky, excitable and receptive to strangers. Anyone giving them any kind of attention is immediately shown a few wags of a tail before being presented with a belly to scratch. My kids ALWAYS want to pat stray dogs or dogs being walked by their owners and this is usually the reaction that they receive from the dog (even though they quite often smell like our pet pig – a smell most dogs find revolting).
In the UK we noticed that when my children asked to pet dogs, the owners would always say yes but the dogs would indicate a response that was a resounding NO. They eyed the children fearfully, backed away and would demonstrate a haughty posture that seemed to say “do not put those filthy fingers on my fur or I’ll lose my shit”.
In Paris we did not get to ask anyone if we could pet the dogs as we could not speak French but even showing attention to a puppy that is being walked briskly in the other direction did not so much as illicit an acknowledgment from the puppy/dog who would continue on with their owner, noses high in the air. The few stray dogs we saw also showed these same mannerisms and had no time for being petted and coo-ed at.
Switzerland we only met 2 dogs. Neither wanted to be patted. But it’s hard to form an opinion based upon these two dogs.
In Italy (well at least in remote Tuscany) people’s dogs seem to have free roam of the little village and are happy to be greeted, petted and offered treats by anyone and everyone. They aren’t strays, but well kept and dearly loved pets. In fact, you can see them having their little get togethers in the town centre just like the little, old Italian men who sit together for hours in the village central garden chatting.
People also sit on their doorsteps chatting to neighbours across or up the streets. The cobbled laneways are so narrow that it almost feels like it is a communal, outdoor entertainment area.
Kylah, Jasmine and I briefly looked at some Markets at the local festival yesterday afternoon while Rohan, Ben and Isabelle climbed the mountain to the top of the fort. We then had to drive half an hour to a neighbouring village to do some grocery shopping. Fresh fruit is only delivered to Roccalbenga on a Monday so by the time Saturday rolls by it is slim pickings in the tiny grocery shops for fruit and vege.
Back at the farm, the children delighted in feeding an orphan lamb they have adopted and “helped” with the afternoon chores. Poor old Rohan fell out of a tree and injured his legs. Whilst he didn’t cry, even when Luciano put some kind of red stuff on his wounds, (which were quite impressive and would have rendered me hysterical) his constant complaining or re-enactments of the fall from the tree almost sent me bonkers.
Luciano had a friend over who prepared us the most DELICIOUS dinner we have ever tasted. The food just kept coming and coming. First course was handmade pasta ravioli with spinach and ricotta topped with a meat sauce. Second course was the most delicious fried zucchini flowers (who knew you could eat the flowers off a zucchini plant???) and third course was prosciutto, cheeses and breads. Dessert was some kind of delicious fruit dish that had Italian biscuits, some kind of mascarpone cream stuff and peaches. We were told that this was a traditional Tuscan dinner. After dinner we were all so stuffed we could hardly move.
I am so relaxed right now. Even all of the kids are relaxed. Don’t know how it’s all going to go down tomorrow when we have to leave our newfound home and head to a busier part of Italy. I’m not even sure we will be taking Rohan with us. He seems quite keen to live here and I think Luciano would be open to the idea of adopting him. The two of them go off on the tractor or scooter and tend to all the animals together.
Today, on Luciano’s recommendation we are going to visit another part of Tuscany with a beautiful beach. Then tonight we are going to take Luciano into the village with us to have dinner in a restaurant.
Thanks for reading!!!