From Cortona we drove to an agriturismo near Montepulciano, a working farm where four generations of women worked together in the kitchen making our meals.
We walked ten miles, inadvertently, one day. We were told that there was a walking trail to the small village of Monticchiello, and to watch for the red and white stripes marking the path. Sometimes it was clear, but more often that not the markings were on a fence post toppled into the ditch.
We walked with Tuscany spread out in patchwork squares in every direction. Twenty olive trees planted in a diamond shape; a rectangle of yellow vineyard; squares of field in green, lime, grey, purple. Forested mountains, cliffs, villages, castles. Tiny, deserted Monticchiello was my favourite. Where was everybody? Laundry hung from windows, cats had ramps up the sides of buildings, plants burst out of window boxes behind curved bars. A textiles shop was open and I bought some striped dish towels.
After lunch,we headed straight for Montepulciano. This proved a mistake, as it was much further than we anticipated. We could see our agriturismo across the hills at one point, with the cypresses lining the driveway, but the road kept leading us away from it. Finally at Montepulciano, drinking lemon soda at a cafe, I said to Pete - Actually, what I really want right now is to lie on the bed and read the Internet. So we took a taxi home and did exactly that.
And that's it. The next day we looped back to Rome for our flight home. Back to the baby with her silky blonde shock of hair and perfectly fat cheeks, and our house coated in wet cedar leaves, and patients who accuse me of taking a brief vacation every year or so.
It was good to be there, and it's good to be here.