As Jeff and I walked through Orvieto on our way to lunch yesterday, he noticed that several shop owners he knew – and who knew him – avoided eye contact. They know him to be married to Robin, yet here we were, strolling contentedly down the street. Awkward!
While it’s too late for those polite and discreet gentlemen, it’s time to introduce our friends, partners, and the co-owners of the house in Benano.
Jeff and Paul first met at the College of Wooster, after which Jeff went off to Sierra Leone with the Peace Corps and met Robin, another Peace Corps volunteer. Jeff and Robin have lived and worked together around the world ever since. They’re now in Rome working for the UN. It was in Rome that Jeff and Paul renewed their friendship and Robin and I became friends in 2003.
Jeff and Robin’s love of the Italian countryside and desire to spend more time in it led them to buy a villa in Torre Alfina, a stunning little town near Benano that I’ll describe later. Biding their time until they can spend more time in it themselves, they began renting the villa to vacationers. They found this so gratifying that they began looking for a second house, which they were willing to share with lucky friends. They asked if we were interested, and Paul and I jumped at the chance.
And what about Paul, you ask? Words fail me when I swoon. So suffice to say that my dear husband is the grandson of Italian immigrants and an inveterate and enthusiastic traveler. The two of us came to Italy together for the first time almost 15 years ago. We chose Italy over Ireland (my grandmother’s country of heritage) for our big vacation because we figured the food would be better in Italy. I can’t confirm that because we haven’t been to Ireland yet. Instead, we’ve come to Italy once or twice a year.
Here’s Paul at his best in Italy. This was taken in the gardens of La Villa di Torre Alfina, Jeff and Robin’s villa near Benano.