My family and I spent a week last summer in a converted hay barn located in the heart
of the Umbrian countryside. The house (hay barn) was over 100 years old and was
perched on the top of the highest hill in the area. It afforded a sweeping view of the
surrounding countryside. Being from the American Midwest, I had never seen anything
After driving for several hours through the picturesque Italian countryside, in 90 plus
degree heat, we arrived at the town where our vacation home was located. The private
drive to the house was lined with immense poplar trees that rustled in the breeze and
offered a respite from the blazing sun. We arrived at the house and took it all in.
To one side, there were golden fields of mown hay. To the south, was a lush vineyard,
it's fruit beginning to ripen for the autumn harvest.
To the west was the owner's house
and our swimming pool. The owner's house was constructed of large beige blocks . Dark
wooden shutters covered the windows in the heat of the day. Our house was a miniature
of the proprietor's.
On the side of the house, there was a covered dining area. The wooden table was large
enough to seat 10 diners comfortably and was surrounded by lush flowering plants.
A large brick grill was close by the dining area. Then, I decided to check out our home
for the next week.
I was greeted by a kitchen decorated in colorful Umbrian ceramics. An olivewood
dining table was in the center of the room. The floor was covered by cool terracotta tiles
and the kitchen sink was made of marble. It seemed that the kitchen was designed to
keep the room as cool as...