10 June 2018
Today is another delicious June morning on the back veranda of Stefania’s Toscolano home that is located near the banks of the Toscolano River and eastern shore of Largo de Garda. This is a quiet village where non-locals are either tourists from Germany or Italians from Milan, Brescia and Verona with second homes here. We’re definitely the exception.
I’m surrounded by a garden with 7 olive trees and a giant magnolia with plate sized blossoms whose perfume blends with the that of autumn clematis that clings to the garden wall. There are a couple of stone benches under the trees; pink oleanders and orange pomegranate provide privacy along the front fence. Several volunteer fig trees are scattered about the yard. This is the second home of a busy physician who takes her oath of “do no harm” seriously, so plants are safe to grow here! The hedge that divides the front yard from the neighbors, Signora Valeria and Signore Aldo, was approaching waist height and encroaching on the diminutive garden statues in the neighbor’s yard. The blossoms from olive tree in front of the kitchen window rained petals down on the sidewalk. However, it helps to frame the church on the high plateau on Mt Gardone that is both iconic and stunningly beautiful. After being here a couple weeks, through lightening, thunder, wind and rain storms, on June 7th Carl and I went to work on pruning the front garden. Much more could be done but we have at least liberated the statues, cleared the front walk and tidied up the hedge. The back of the property butts up against the Botanical Garden providing a rich habitat for birds. Song birds frequently serenade and Carl, the consummate conversationalist, carries on with the birds encouraging them to chatter away. In early June we were delighted to see fire flies; a summer phenomenon we enjoyed when we lived in Georgia. Bats darting to-and-fro in the twilight snatch their dinner from the night sky.
Stefania’s grandparents and her current neighbors built this home in 1975 in the modern Italian style. Elegant white granite steps lead to the upper level, the 3 bathrooms, one on each floor, have tiled walls, and lovely hard wood floors throughout rest of the home are in a herring-bone motif. The windows are large but protected by topperelli, external window coverings that help to keep the inside cool on sunny days, block wind and rain, and provide security. Having packed lightly, we need to wash clothes frequently. Fortunately, Stefania has a washer and a “stendibiancheria” placed in the sun is an effective dryer.
Grocery shopping is easy, as the Migros supermarket is less than 2 blocks away, the open-air market is 2 blocks the other direction. Some of the best olive oil I’ve had, Frantoio, and produced by Bonaspetti (http://www.frantoiobonaspetti.com/) just over the Toscolano river and only blocks away.
Just beyond Bonaspetti olive grove is The Senior Club. I will have more to say about this in another blog.
Leisurely days and lingering until the light fades on the veranda after dinner provides space for the soul to breathe and truly enjoy la dolce vita.