The world is wide, its people are beautiful, and every landscape has its magic. We were extremely blessed to come across a last-minute Workaway opportunity where we created friendships of a lifetime and made memories that we will never forget. We helped our lovely hosts Tommy and Camilla with tasks around their beautiful villa "Tomilla" as I like to call it. From installing light fixtures (Bryan's specialty) to putting together wardrobes and refinishing furniture, there was plenty of work to be done. It was always work filled with joy as we couldn't help but feel the excitement of seeing this place come together. It was so rewarding to see some of the transformations that all of us, along with a few other awesome volunteers, accomplished together in just a few short weeks.
Our time was so full of amazing experiences it would fill up a whole book to write about all of them so instead here are some highlights:
NIGHTS UNDER SKIES OVERFLOWING WITH STARS Our first night at village Tomilla, we couldn't believe how many stars we saw in the sky. Nearly every night turned out to be just as magnificent with an abundance of stars greater than we have ever seen (ok..maybe besides in Banff). Bryan built a firepit/grill out in the backyard where we spent many nights sitting by the fire and sharing many laughs.
LOCAL TRADITIONS We got to visit the village where Tommy's grandma lives - Montisi. Their annual "Giostra di Simone" event was going on. The whole village is divided into four quarters which they call "contradas" and the four contradas compete against each other in a game where one representative from each contrada tries to win the most points by performing certain tasks while riding on a horse. The locals get excited about the event and hold luncheons the week before the games and then dinners the night before the game. Each contrada has their own luncheons and dinners which are typically held outside in the streets of that particular quarter and filled with endless courses of typical Tuscan food and an endless supply of wine.
The night of the dinners, we were part of team Castello and as part of the tradition, we decided to get christened with wine!
EATALY We now finally understanding why everyone associates Italy with food - because so do Italians! No wonder when every meal is so delicious and always prepared with full presence and love!
When we got to villa Tomilla, Camilla had prepared a wonderful welcome lunch for us, complete with authentic Italian pasta, bread, and wine, followed by sips of Meloncello. At dinner we got to try some of Tuscany's deli meats and cheeses, concluding with the magical combination of biscuits and Vin Santo dessert wine. Food is deeply ingrained in the culture and it is hard to listen to a conversation where the verb "mangiare" (to eat) isn't used in some form. Yes, even when eating, the Italians talk about what they should cook next or their favorite recipes.
One night Tommy and Bryan put their skills together to prepare a delicious aperitivo, including some yummy fresh bruschetta.
We got to indulge in many traditional pasta dishes, tried countless cheeses and meats, and figured out how yummy honey can be with cheese and how essential it is to have bread during every meal. Bryan learned how to make real Carbonara while Tommy learned how to make good ol' Southern biscuits & gravy (no biscuits though, just Bryan's amazing potatoes). Because Simi loves Tiramisu more than anything, Tommy was also kind enough to do a cooking class where he walked through each step of making it step by step. The outcome was nothing less than pure and sweet deliciousness.
It was absolutely wonderful having a private certified yoga teacher - Camilla. Always felt so refreshed after our morning yoga sessions!
And of course can't forgot our sweet Rudy who kept guard for us all day and night!
The friendships we made were definitely the most wonderful part of the whole experience and the laughs we shared will stay with us forever! THANK YOU TOMMY AND CAMILLA !
Perhaps the stars have been scattered all around the earth and the skies just to remind us of the brightness of the light deep within the core of our being. ❤SO