There are so many reasons that Italy has slipped into my heart but one of the biggest is surely the people I have met here over the years.
The people of Piedmont have simply added to that particular experience of Italy. There was the intensity, the laughter, and the pure joy of spending those hours working with Carla in her restaurant kitchen on Monday ... then the kindness and patience of the people in Acqui Terme's Market with those foreign photographers yesterday. Last night it was all about the generosity of the people who led us through an exquisite multi-course dinner.
There is a saturation that occurs, for me, here. A saturation that is not just of a physical nature but there is a very real sensation of my soul being filled ... or whatever 'organ' it is that stores joy. It fills and overflows and simply sparkles so many times in day when I'm here.
Sure there is the beautiful landscape, the visible histories, the wine, the food, and the language but there are also the people.
Yesterday the lovely man pictured below arrived at Diana and Micha's, laden down with gifts and toting his own gentle charm. Needless to say we adored him, both for the fruit and even more after he called us all beautiful women.
For all that is difficult, in Italy in these current days, there is still so much that is beautiful and I am truly grateful to the people who allow me in.
Genova tomorrow, the day when I get to introduce everyone here to that Ligurian city I love so very well.