Archives for Living Here

Missing the Clouds

By the time we’ve reached the front gate of Bettona, the  halfway point in our walk around the town walls, we can all tell the storm is coming. Rocco crouches low, flicks his head, and looks up at me. Yes, its almost here. We’d better get home quickly. The storms that pass through the valley are remarkable for their intensity — winds pushing the clouds down from Cesena like some grey Armada with their walls of rain cutting paths across the valley and on towards Spoleto. Sometimes the clouds part revealing the Apennines in the distance and sometimes patches of
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A Home in Umbria

Life in Bettona The reality of living on two different continents means that I’m not always sure where I am these days. Friends in New York forget the time difference when they call, invite me to parties I can’t attend, or consistently ask when I am coming home. But the answer is “I am home.” Four years later (and I can’t tell you how much energy and money later), what was once an abandoned wreck, has come back as a palazzo filled with people, dogs, and the smell of something cooking — life. Occasionally, although less often, I wake up
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After the storm

I know I’ve spoken to just about everyone about my fascination with the clouds here in Umbria — to me they are completely different than the clouds I grew up with in New York — and they are never more spectacular than just before and after a storm. First, they arrive like the Spanish Armamada. That is to say they mass in the distance and roll through the valley like an endless horde of menacing war ships. Their dark flat bottoms hover high above the valley creating a ‘Middle Earth’ of calm and brightness between the dark plain and the
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So, where is Umbria?

Last time I was in New York, I was talking to someone at a party and, when I said I lived in Umbria, he asked. “Is that in Duchess or Columbia County? How does one respond? (I said it was in Westchester, waved to a non-existent friend across the room, and excused myself.) Why is it that so many people still haven’t heard of Umbria? Say ‘Tuscany’ and their eyes light up and they start talking about two days they spent in Florence sometime in the distant past. Or worse, that semester abroad they can barely remember. Living in the heart
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