My Secret Thanksgiving

Last night, on what turned out to be American Thanksgiving, the African refugees cooked dinner in the Poggio Alla Croce community centre kitchen. Italians know very little of African food but after long discussions with the students, a shopping list was created. Two kilos of beef, okra, onions, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, peanut butter and rice […]

Continue reading


The Changing Face of Italy: One Village at a Time

On Saturday, July 1, the population of Poggio Alla Croce increased by 17 percent. Thirty African and Asian young male refugees arrived, and are now living in a refurbished hotel near the town square.  The villagers were not consulted on this surge in their population and they are openly divided about the new residents.   […]

Continue reading


Eleven things you should know before you work the Olive Harvest (especially if you want to be invited back)

Though the Olive harvest for 2016 is over, it’s not too early to think about being a part of the Raccolta  (harvest) in November 2017. Typically you will receive, among other things, free room and board from your host, in exchange for your help.  1.It is hard and repetitive work. You are not on the […]

Continue reading


The End of the Dinner Party or: My Wonderful Italian Life

  As my time in Tuscany draws to a close, I no longer have a long to-do or to-see list. I’m spending these last weeks in the countryside with friends. And as it often happens, when I cease to plan, organise or control, magic takes over and things fall into their rightful places. Yesterday afternoon […]

Continue reading