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January 29, 2012

Winter in Vellano

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Darren & Malcolm @ 3:37 pm


We hope you all had as lovely Christmas and New Year, as we had here.  The weather was mild and sunny this year and there was lots to to do and people to see, including our friends and neighbours.  Aren’t Christmas decorations interesting in Italy!  There are lots of plastic Santa Claus’ flapping about precariously from chimney tops and climbing up traditional green Tuscan shutters.  Plenty of lights illuminating the trees in the road and one enterprising villager who is a big fan (tifoso) of the nearest Serie A football team which is in Florence, called AC Fiorentina.  He had a huge purple/violet Christmas tree surrounded by an arched doorway of violet lights.  Fiorentina incidently play in the colour violet (never seen in England you understand!).  This colour apparently originates from the original red and white city colours they used to play in.  The shirts were apparently then washed one day in the river Arno and the colours bled to form this particularly lurid and striking colour.  Fiorentina may not be Italy’s most successful team but they are the most beautifully equipped. What would you expect from Italy’s most stylish city.

The Padule near Monticatini Tuscany Italy –

Everything seems quiet in Tuscany now.  There are not many visitors, no festivals or holidays yet. While the sun can be beautifully strong when it is out there are chilly nights to be had and there is a great sense of waiting in the air.  An anticipation of things to come.  Many people, including ourselves are preparing for spring; digging and clearing terraces and gardens, burning the debri in evocative plumes of smoke all over the sides of the valley.  Chopping the peices of wood that remain for winter fires now and for winters to come.  We have already seen some daffodils blooming in some sheltered spots and the primulas are bursting forth on the banksides.  However it is not spring yet and there is always the possibility of snow through February that may yet settle on the Mimosa and Camelias; the latter now being in flower.  What to grow this year apart from the usual.  We have planted garlic already, but what else that maybe different, peppers, asparagus, some more fruit trees….there is plenty of time at this stage of the year to wonder and plan before the hard work begins.

The Italian Cowboy at Lucca Tsucany Italy -

We have to show you this lovely creature – the cow-boy!  There is an amazing emporium just outside Lucca called Mercatino Usato (used market), that occupies a very large warehouse.  It sell everything you can think of.  Much of this is used stuff that is tatty and stood in the store for many years but there are some wounderful peices of Rococo furniture inside, marble statuary, kitchen cupboards, picture etc.  Outside there are grand old peices of garden iron mongery that would only fit in the garden of some large old villa or palazetto, swings, garden benches, pergolas a plenty.  However nothing quite sums up Mercatino Usato quite like this little beast.  We hope that regular readers of our blog will be able to find him a suitable name!


  1. I love the cowboy…..maybe it’s a cowgirl…having lived in Colorado’s ranch land, and now in New Mexico, I think it’s time the tables the turned on those other cowboys.

    I looked at your website when my husband and I were planning our trip back to Bagni di Lucca, in March unfortunately you were booked, so we ended booking in Bagni it’s self. But your place looks beautiful. Next time.

    We’re in the process of buying a home just outside Lucingnana and we’ll be sure to check out the cowgirl emporium in Lucca. And I’m going to track back and read your other blogs…..I have to say reading blogs by people who’ve sold up, packed up, and followed their heart to Tuscany is exhilarating. Thank you.

    Comment by Rosie — February 1, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

  2. Rosie

    Thank you very much for your comment. The cow has long blonde hair and might be related to Doris Day, so I am fine with that. Your place in New Mexico looks great too, we know Arizona and we love the American South West. We look forward to meeting you one day in Tuscany.

    Malcolm & Darren

    Comment by Malcolm Coward — February 1, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  3. Hey ~ That cow makes quite an impression. I called her calamity cow in my last blog post. Also gave Vellano a mention with requisite panoramic picture. How you enjoying the snow then? It’s hellish here with howling gales causing drifts. Looks like we’ll be stuck for days yet. Ho hum. Hope you are keeping well and warm though.

    Comment by Jonathan Smith — February 3, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

  4. As always I trawl through your site at times of feeling miserable and always come away cheered ! I love you pictures (not sure about the cow – though I can think of a few peoples’ names that would fit) I hear that like us you have snow although, unlike us, a little more than 10 cms. Will you be putting up some more gorgeous photos ? I’ve recently come back from Goa (34degrees, blue skies) so I empathise with the shock to system of the difference.

    Comment by Dan Lehain — February 6, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

  5. Dan I am so glad to hear you have enjoyed the warmth of Goa. I will always try to put on more wonderful photographs (and soon you will be taking your own). We try to keep the ‘snow thing’ a little quiet however as we want everyone to think of Tuscany as sun and heat all the way!.

    Comment by Darren Hackett — February 6, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

  6. How about Macho Mucca? She is certainly geared for battle with the boys. Do hope the wood got up the drive… heaven knows you will need it the way the wind is blowing, what a chill factor! Hope to see yoy before the 18. xx

    Comment by Liz — February 8, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

  7. Thanks Liz. The wood came up yesterday with extra big tractor. Fortunately we are in such a sheltered place that we do not get too much windy weather, but there certainly is a chill factor at the moment. It is still wonderful though when the sun is out! Love Malcolm and Darren xx

    Comment by Malcolm Coward — February 9, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

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