This is Signor Giannetti. I met him while biking one day – he lives in the hamlet of St Andrea di Sorbello (like one lady said, the name is bigger than the town). He and his wife own the bar there – which I think is the only business in the hamlet. A bar in Italy is not a night spot – it’s a place to get a sandwich, coffee, pastries, cigarettes, etc - as well as a stronger drink if wanted - more like a pub.
He’s 80 years old and has a beautiful garden near the river. He gave me a big bag of tomatoes, a sweet, juicy cantaloupe, the fagioli (beans) he has in his hand and several pumpkin flowers (these are a delicious fried treat – my first attempt was a little lame, but I hope to do better next time).
Although he apparently has a lot of land, he won’t allow his land to be used to grow tobacco (the main crop around here) and he won’t sell cigarettes in his bar. He’s also pretty intense about only eating vegetables and fruits that haven’t been tainted with pesticides and other chemicals (I think even chemical fertilizers fit in that category for him). He and his wife are healthy folks and still get around on their own two feet.
The most touching part of my halting conversation with him was when he told me how much respect he has for Americans – he remembers the ousting of the German armies by our troops in 1944. He said it took two years, but we did it.
Signor also has a “piccola casa” (little house) he wants to sell – and he has enlisted my aid in spreading the word. This house is like most old farmhouses in Italy – the ground floor was used for farming purposes (like housing animals, storing feed or some other use - in this casa the ground floor was used to dry tobacco). The family lived on the top floor – which they call the first floor.
Perhaps I’ll put up a “For Sale” post for Sig. Giannetti soon …. and if you know anyone who might want to purchase this beautiful stone farmhouse - let me know!!! It's got good stone bones.