Vergemoli – Casa Debbio – two weeks like no other…

High in the hills above Bagni Di Lucca is the very little village of Vergemoli.  Only a few streets with houses once again clinging to the rocks beneath them as they have done so since the turn of the century.  Once again, all higgliepigedly and just fabulous colours of red, pink and cream.  Many with lovely pots of flowers at the front. Gardens full of roses, cherries, pears, apples and figs.  Two or three cobblestoned streets, one cafe/bar and lots of true Italians.  

Vergemoli Bar & Cafe

We met Rosi and Adriano at the bar on the first day and they took us down a little dirt track to  Casa Debbio and instantly we didn’t want to ever leave. 

Within an hour I had pasta sauce on the stove with fresh herbs from the garden.  Alby had cheese, crackers and red wine ready and just as we sat down, Sisto, the most wonderful eccentric italian we are told, started his classical italian music.  Hints of accordion in amongst the beautiful singing.  He played his music most afternoons for up to an hour the first week and we are convinced it was ‘just for us’.

The house is amazing.  Brand new and three storeys high with three very large bedrooms, all with en-suites.  Ella was on the top floor in her own little cocoon and loved it, only came out for food and drinks some days.  I was a bit crook with the flu for the first few days, so this was the ideal spot to relax and do nothing, but read a book and take a well earned rest.  Thirty years of working will make you a bit weary – you know…  

If you need a good spot to rest a while – pick here…

Built from some old rocks from the original house that was demolished, just above the rock wall beside the BBQ.  Then loads of new ones. It has been an amazing success.  Adriano, the builder, told us of the challenges of getting things done here and the usual red tape of the local authorities.  Not sure they are as strict as Australia but guess getting there.  

This is the view from the kitchen door.  In the afternoon the sun hits the village and it almost glows in the sunshine. This photo does not do it justice as it is very beautiful.

There are other houses spotted through the mountains on their own and you have to wonder why they choose to live up there.  But apparently, in the various wars with the Romans or whoever wanted to come to town, they built where they could see them coming. Now I guess folks just love the privacy and the views for miles. 

In the back garden you can see the little BBQ and next to it is a lovely fountain with a big frog on it.  He spits water direct from the spring at the back of the house that then continues down over the garden and probably 500feet to the river below.  Covered in beautiful tall trees, pines, figs, walnuts and general scrub, it is so private and quiet.  Reminds me of the Farm in Daintree – nothing to wake you here except the birds.  You could sleep undetected for days I am sure. 

Alby turned primal and made a fire in the BBQ – very delicious
Driveway side of house

Alby had his 50th birthday here, but because I wasn’t well, he had a ‘party for one’ but we caught up the next night with Rosi and Adriano who came for dinner. Was a lovely night and good to chat to somewhat locals, even though they are from Holland.   There is just so much pasta here that a curry was a welcome change it seems. 

Think we might have to have a better celebration at home at some stage.
Maybe our 51st and call it our 40th’s again.  

We quite like the idea of turning back the clock to 40. If only…

Our only real adventures from here have been to Barga – another city with several churches.  The main one dedicated to St Christopher on the top of the hill.  All the cobblestoned streets lead to the church and the view was amazing. Had lunch there the first day and then came home to find a storm had blown all sorts of things to bits.  Flowers and leaves blown everywhere.  They have really quick little summer storms here.  They come over in a matter of say 2 hours, hit with wind and rain and are gone and the sun comes out.  Very strange, but normal for this time of the year apparently. One is about to hit as I do this…


We also had a lost dog incident earlier in the week and what better folks to stumble across but us. A lovely springer spaniel, just like Bella who lives down the road.  He walked down past the bbq and then wanted to run away, but he stopped when I called him he fell into the garden exhausted.  He had a collar but no phone numbers so when Fillippo, the gardener, arrived at about 5.00, he called the pet ambulance and just after 7.00 we met them in the village to take him back to his owner – he had a chip.  We tried to call to see if he survived but no one knew anything, gave my card to the volunteers too, but have heard nothing, so hope he is ok.  He was beautiful but covered in masses of really big blue ticks – just like the paralyses ticks at home. He broke us up as he lifted his paw as if to say thank you for looking after him. Could have brought him home without any worries at all.  He could nearly pass for a Jack Russell. 
I guess Vergemoli (is what we named him) was a reminder that life still goes on no matter what you are doing. 
The other day we walked into the village and could see a man digging a hole in his garden with all the family nearby so thought little of it.  Until we walked back and saw four beautiful blue paws sticking up from a blanket in the back seat of a little car.  Someone’s mate had gone.  We saw his grandmother yesterday and I said ‘dead dog’ in sign language and she knew and said, yes – very sad day.  As it always is.  
We had just been for a walk and found the little cemetery that you can glimpse from the house through the trees.  It was amazing.  Never have I seen a cemetery where almost every headstone had flowers on it.  Some had electiricity going to them to keep the lamps alight. I guess, a testament of the villagers who live here and the generations that have gone before.  There are family plots with spaces waiting.  But in this mad hurly burly world, it is incredible that there are still families who stick together and stay in the same village all their lives.  
I wonder what makes people do that, rather than travel and see new places and have new experiences.  Then go home, pick up stumps and move to the other side of the world.  I guess it is that some folks are riverbank people and some are boat people.   

Since we were happily entrenched at Casa Debbio we have all had a well earned rest.  I think it is years since we have truly stopped still for more than a few days.  Sleeping soundly every night, recharging the batteries and having some really fun moments just totally on our own.  Every moment is precious and our time here will be remembered for just that, if nothing else. 

Tomorrow we move back towards civilisation, coffee shops and maybe some Australians at the village of Bagni Lucca.  Until then – bye from Vergemoli…

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