From My Tuscan Window

Chapter 1
“Sue, please help me move the bed two inches to the left and about an inch back. Okay, now try it,” I continued. “You get on your side and look out your window, and I’ll get on my side and look out mine.”
“Bene. Perfetto. Che meraviglia! La vista dalla mia parte del letto è stupenda!” (“Good. Perfect. How marvelous! The view from my side of the bed is stupendous!”)

“Now let’s change sides. I want to see your view,” I insisted.

Lying side by side in our antique Tuscan bed, we began recovering from our latest long trip -- from Texas to our beloved Italian hill town home. Looking through the familiar Tuscan windows, I began to reminisce about the strange set of events that initially led us to this village high above the Serchio Valley, north of Lucca, some 35 years ago. I remarked to myself how the view from our bed has few equals anywhere in the world.

This day, in fact, was the 39th anniversary of our marriage in 1967, and what better way to spend it, than to gaze out the window at an ever-changing painting of what we consider to be the most beautiful place in all of Tuscany. The natural healing properties of the mountains, the sky, the rondini (swallows), the clouds, and the villages dotting the landscape, are without parallel.

My poor wife has endured all these years with a husband who is obsessed with aesthetics and one who feels that the view from every window on earth should be beautiful. In my search for such views, our four children have suffered many tortuous hours waiting in the car on our family’s annual work trips to Europe to produce educational media. In search of a place to stay at the end of the day, I would go from hotel to hotel, checking the view from one window after another until I was satisfied that upon awakening the next day, I would be greeted with a scene of something marvelous, such as the Pont du Gard, the Eiffel Tower, the Pantheon, Mont Blanc or another wonder, whether natural or produced by human hands.

So, when the opportunity arose a few years ago to purchase Casa Rosina, which shared a common wall with Casa Giorgio -- our first house in Gioviano -- we did so with delight. However, in doing so, we didn’t just buy another house; we became the proud owners of another beautiful view as well.

After 40 years of adventures in Italy. I have literally begged my mother to write of her adventures there. When she was 89, she had one of the sharpest minds on earth and could weave a tapestry with words bringing life and color to even the most mundane event. As my pleas to her have fallen on deaf ears, I have decided to do the best that I can manage with my rather primitive and inferior writing skills, but many of her memories are included.

Fortunately for our family, my mother chose another creative outlet for her memories—oil painting. The works that emerged from her art studio speak to her amazing talents. She created her masterpieces of village life in Gioviano in the Palazzo (palace) that Sue and I bought for her and my father. Here, her paintings are lovingly displayed on the walls for all to see. During the extremely hot part of the year in Texas, she and my father escaped to the cool beauty of our Tuscan hill town and their Italian friends.

It was our search for the perfect window with the perfect view that in 2006 has inspired me to begin writing this book. For those who have never had the good fortune to experience our part of Tuscany, I would like to share a few vignettes of the experiences we have had. Hopefully, those who are fortunate to someday visit the area may also participate in the lives of the people living along the ever-flowing Auser, the River of God of the ancients.

May the views from your windows be as beautiful as those from ours--wherever they may be.

updated December 21, 2009
Copyright 2005-2009 George H. Russell
Previous Chapter
Back to the Table of Contents
Next Chapter