Sunday, January 9, 2011

Christmas in Italy

Our good friends, Piero and Renata Smaniotto, invited us to spend the Christmas holidays with them at their home in Lucca, Italy. It had been eight years since we were last in Lucca and six years since we had seen the Smaniotto's so we were so happy to get the invitation and delighted to be going to Lucca again, especially for Christmas.

Casa Bianca is incredibly beautiful. It was originally a farm house in the hills above Lucca. Piero and Renata have restored and improved it so that today it is worthy of it's own issue of House Beautiful. Not only is the house beautiful but the surrounding land is also gorgeous. Piero has his own vineyard and olive groves and Renata has a multitude of beautiful flowers and plants in the gardens surrounding the house.

Here the drive in front of the house. The vineyard is down the hill to the left and the olive trees are everywhere.
A welcoming door.
The mountains in the distance were snow capped. Lucca is in the valley below.

The side yard. There are all sorts of flowers in this garden...everything from gardenias and roses to oranges and figs. Renata is wonderful gardener and it shows. We hope to go back in the spring to see it all in bloom.

The woodpile and view.
The terrace.
Piero's wine storage.

A jug they dug out of the ground. It was probably used for some sort of storage.
Hoops from an old barrel. The green netting you see in the background hanging from the olive trees is used during the olive harvest.
Everywhere you look there is something beautiful. This is just a small sample of the beauty outdoors.

Here are some photos of the inside of Casa Bianca.
The living room.
Going upstairs.
Pelo, the cat, at the fireplace.A warm fire, a toscanno and a glass of Casa Bianca wine. This is the life.The upstairs room. This room previously was used to store hay for the animals who were housed below in what is now the kitchen. The family shared living quarters with their livestock at that time.
Upstairs window.Renata's father had made wine at Casa Bianca for years but Piero is now working to improve the grapes and their wine. He has planted new varieties of grapes and is working to create just the right taste. It certainly met with our approval!

Piero also produces olive oil and I have never tasted any oil so delicious. Even though we have different types of olive oil in the states, I assure you nothing can compare to olive oil from Casa Bianca. It is just so good!

Now that I have set the stage I must tell you about our wonderful Christmas. But that will have to be another blog. I have a new Mac and am learning how to get this blog all up and running so it is taking forever to get anything posted! I am going to leave off here and post all about Christmas within a day or two. Believe me, it is worth the wait!

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