Sfortuna, Fortuna – The Sky’s on Fire

We arrived at Tutto Doppio four weeks ago to the day.  Although we know how lucky and blessed we are, and although we take time every day to look at our world as though it’s the first time we’ve seen it, I’d be lying to you if I claimed everything has been smooth as silk.  Our challenges haven’t been anything earth shattering; just the stuff that comes along with starting life in a new place.  Admittedly, each of these “chores” (e.g., getting a new cell phone plan, getting an internet connection) is a bit more complicated given our rudimentary Italian.  (We’ve had a LOT of help from Pietro… thanks, P!)

And we’ve had it easy compared to the folks who depend on grapes for their livelihood. The summer has been just awful.  Far too much rain, and not nearly enough heat.  We are hoping – along with them – that the weather snaps to ASAP.

Today looked good when we woke up, and was nice and warm through the early afternoon. But as the day came to a close, another storm rolled through… washing away any of the treatments farmers here must use to do battle with mildew, fungus and the like.  Bummer.

But with every bad turn of events comes something good, something beautiful.  I know that this “silver lining” way of thinking sounds trite, pollyannish.  But the older I get, the more I believe that it’s true.  The more experience I have under my belt, the more I come to trust that no matter how awful and disappointing the news, there is something of beauty to discover.  Maybe it’s just the way humans are wired.  Maybe it’s the way the universe is wired.  Maybe it’s God.  Maybe not.  But I do believe it’s true.

With today’s awful weather and storms came the most amazing sunset.  We are genuinely sorry for our neighbor farmers who are counting – dearly – on better weather.  And we hope right along with them that better weather comes soon.  But that hoping hasn’t stopped us from stopping and being still and watching the sun set in a spectacular way.  Giusto?


Learn Italian with B & G?!?

You can now muddle your way through learning Italian the same way we do.  Every morning, we have a couple of cappuccini and practice some vocabulary.

We use an iPad app called “Flashcards Deluxe” and a deck of cards we assembled by combining lists of commonly used Italian words gleaned from the web.  The app will set you back $3.99.  (You can also download the free version; it will only let you use six cards, but it’s worth it if you want to decide whether to shell out the $3.99!)

If you want to use the app, you’ll need to shell out the cheddar.  But we’ve made the deck available to you so you can learn right along with us.  Here’s how you can grab our deck:

  • Go to the main screen of the Flashcards Deluxe (or Deluxe Lite) app, and tap on the “+” icon
  • Tap on “Shared Library”
  • Tap on “Search” and then enter “Tutto Doppio”
  • You’ll see a listing for “Tutto Doppio’s basic vocabulary deck”
  • Tap that listing
  • Then tap “Download”

The vocabulary deck will be downloaded to your iPad or iPhone; this process might take a couple of minutes, so have a cup of coffee or a nice glass of wine.  Piano, piano!

Once the download is complete, you’ll be asked whether you’d like to return to the main screen.  Tap “Yes” and you’ll be taken to a page that shows the Tutto Doppio basic vocabulary deck.  Just click on that, and you’ll be on your way to muddling through Italian the Tutto Doppio way!  Bocca al lupo!!



San Benedetto Del Tronto gets HAPPY

Family, friends, the sea… what more do we need to be happy?  Meet the folks of the delightful beach town down the hill from Tutto Doppio!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXLLDcwqAis?wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1]


House For Sale!

It’s official! The St. Louis joint is on the market.  And the place is looking so good we’re tempted to cancel our plans to move.  (Okay, not quite, but almost.)

Check out the great video of the house here.


Wine Enthusiast Talks Le Marche Wines – Including Our Beloved Pecorino

Check out the March edition of Wine Enthusiast.  They cover Le Marche, calling it “Italy’s Best Kept Secret.”  Here’s a little taste:

Often translated as “the Marches,” this Central Italian region has it all. Pristine beaches and rugged shorelines hug the sapphire-blue Adriatic. Rolling hills lie covered with vines and olive groves. There are well-preserved medieval towns and cultural centers, wonderful cuisine and great wines.

What you won’t find are the throngs of tourists that descend regularly on Tuscany, situated on the opposite coast, although crowds do show up at the main beaches in peak season.

They also talk a bit about the wines of Ascoli Piceno, the slice of heaven where Tutto Doppio is located… and the tasty white wine to which we’ve taken a particular cotton:

… the most interesting wines from the undulating hills around Ascoli Piceno are white, especially the small production of Offida Pecorino DOCG. 

Nearly extinct in the early 1980s, the Pecorino grape was saved by local winemaker Guido Cocci Grifoni, who, after years of experimentation, made his first vintage of 100% Pecorino in 1990.

Because of its intense floral aromas of acacia and jasmine, rich white-fruit flavors, creamy texture and mineral notes, more wineries are now producing this fascinating wine, which pairs well with fish and white meats.

Can’t wait to get back to the farm!


Is That a Trick Question?

We really got a kick out of this email exchange between a friend of ours and her sister about whether they should come visit us on the farm.  (Note: I’ve redacted the names and potty mouth language, in case Dad sees this entry.  For the rest of y’all, I think “WTFY” is a nice shorthand for “absolutely.”)


Surf’s Up, Le Marche Style!

G and I spent Thanksgiving with our family on the island of Kauai. Although I spent a lot of time in the ocean as a kid, I never took up surfing. But I did give it a spin on Kauai… and am really interested in pursuing it a bit more.

Imagine how happy I was to learn that – every so often – the sea in Civitanova (about an hour north of Tutto Doppio) is suitable for surfing!  Can’t wait to check out the scene next fall.

Here’s a little clip of some of the action.  Gnarly, giusto?



Beautiful Le Marche – Through the Eyes of Marco Gentili