A VALLEY IN ITALY: The Many Seasons of a Villa in Umbria
, 1994 - Travel
- 219 pages
Of all the romantic obsessions in novelist Lisa St Aubin de Teran's life, the search for a castle occupied her the longest - until she saw the magnificent Villa Orsola deep in the Umbrian hills. Only after eagerly signing the ownership papers did she and her husband, painter Robbie Duff-Scott, discover that they were the owners of a vast ruin, lacking windowpanes and parts of the roof, among other essential elements. Luckily, the local Italian parish of San Orsola boasts some of the most fertile soil and plentiful harvests in the world. And it wasn't long before the townspeople - who celebrate each season with enticing food and vibrant rituals - drew Lisa, Robbie, Lisa's teenage daughter and six-year-old son, and the two Irish au pairs known as "the Beauties" into their lives. From her first visit to Umbria, through the months of camping out with her family in the midst of the restoration of the villa by local craftsmen, to her daughter's wedding after the scaffolding came down one year later, Lisa St Aubin de Teran chronicles her life and the lives of her neighbors in a place where "all things are made to be as enjoyable as possible". A Valley in Italy is the story of the restoration in the grand style of an impossible house and of the charms of bohemian family life, as well as a rare portrait of the life of an Italian village. Lisa St Aubin de Teran's intuitive sense of place, her humor, her affection for the people around her, and her appreciation of native Italian grace make this a memorable book that can stand beside the best accounts of Italian life.