Villa L'Apparita is situated in the rolling hills overlooking Siena in the Tuscan region of Italy. According to it's owner, the writer Giovanni Guiso, it is the most beautiful farmhouse in Tuscany. Dott. Guiso made this grand pronouncement when he entertained the group of gardeners that I was traveling with on a horticultural tour of Florence and Tuscany in 2000. The farmhouse was built in the late 1400s and was indeed beautiful, especially the rosy brick facade, the arched doorways covered with clipped greenery that could accommodate horses and mounting posts in the lower level, and these lovely red roses--the flowers of love--growing up the walls.
Visiting this garden was different from other Tuscan gardens. While the surrounding landscape was beautiful, our host had more theatrical interests that he wanted to share. For he was involved with Siena's theatrical society, writing and designing costumes. He also used Villa L'Apparita as a stage for some of his productions. Before lunch we gathered in a small drawing room for a miniature opera in his puppet theater. Everywhere there were reminders that this place existed to celebrate the beauty of love, landscape, and words. Here are two examples that I've carried with me for almost ten years. They remind me of how I want to live my life.
"Jai longtemps habite' sous de vaster porticos." Baudelaire ("I have long lived under vast porticos.") This was the inscription on the stuccoed wall by the door leading into the living area of the villa. When I heard the translation, I was just floored. Like Baudelaire, I have "long lived under vast porticos." My life has been filled with exciting adventures, experiences, and opportunities. I've tried to live romantically by always saying "yes" to every new experience, trying not to hesitate or fear making the wrong decision. I have been rewarded. Sometimes my head just whirls with memories of the past and what I'm interested in right now. Even in low times--and don't we all have them--I know that life will eventually be good again. This is what you get when you're willing to live romantically.
"Perduto e tutto il tempo che in amore non so' spende" from "Aminta" by Italian poet T. Tasso ("Lost is time not spent in loving."). This quote was inscribed on the terra cotta column near an outdoor theater beside the villa. Imagine watching a play of love, grand or common, here as the sun sets over Siena in the distance. Very romantic! How wise of Tasso to remind us that love comes in many forms, except perfection. Time spent grieving for someone or something that we cannot have, or that is not right for us, is time lost. What a hard lesson to learn when you are sure that your heart is broken by a love that you cannot find or keep. It's a lesson I finally learned. Even though I may not have a life partner, I love a lot--friends two and four-legged, community, ideas, learning, books, music, travel and more. At times I wonder how I would have enjoyed sharing my life with another on a daily basis, but I do not grieve for what did not happen.
Now we'll need to save the English detour to this love lost and found tale for another day out of consideration for Fun Monday readers. Check back on Wednesday or Thursday for the rest of the story. In the meantime, be sure to check out Hoosier Girl's Coffee Table for other wise stories about love and marriage.