Chiavenna, Italy –
For those of you who have participated on our Assaggio trip, this photo should bring back some memories. It is a shot of the little known Chiavenna Valley and it is one of the few vistas that includes a view of our home here, Next Step’s European Headquarters if you will. If you look directly beneath the waterfall, you will see the vineyards that spread out from the formal Garden, directly in front of the main house. That house belongs to our wealthy neighbors, the Vertimate Franchi’s. We are the white speck in the extreme lower left-hand corner.
Back in the day, the day being 1718, our humble dwelling was part of the peasant village that clung to the walls of the Vertimate Villa. Times have changed of course. The last of the Vertimate Franchi family passed away decades ago, leaving the villa to the nearby town of Chiavenna. The inhabitants of our home, left for more prosperous surroundings. Here’s the way the expansive garden looks today.
When we purchased it in the early 80’s, the small structure you see in the back right was the master bath. Today it is, more appropriately, a garden shed. We have added all sorts of luxuries that even the Vertimate-Franchis did not enjoy, electricity, running water, the works. In the summer, Chiavenna sponsors classical concerts in the Vertimate gardens and the sounds wafts over the walls in spill into our garden. It’s really quite magical.
This is the perfect little corner of the Italian Alps. A place where we can retire to recharge our batteries between tours (phone, camera, iPad, Kindle.) Over the next few days, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite aspects of the neighborhood. This is great walking country! But first let’s take a look at the mountains over the back fence.
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