Tuesday, August 9, 2011


The wheel of a watermill turned gently above the river. Claudio made us feel like royalty with extra desserts and free aperitifs. Family means so much in Italy, and sometimes three or four generations were at the same table, shouting lost words between the deaf old and the inattentive young. The village children played in the dark square on bicycles.

Some houses are crumbling, but there is a basic beauty to even that. The cracks are coloured and shaded as though in a master's old oil painting. Italy seems to know that nothing has value without the extra touch of a person's hand; that meaning lies in the kind space beyond contract, where friends give because they want to give, and for no other reason.

On a table nearby, a man fussed over his woman, touched her unnecessarily often. She turned away from him. But on her face was the smile of a satisfied lover, of a woman in control.