Constant craving

Often I seek out real life in Paris, longing to satisfy my craving to be a traveler instead of a tourist, to walk on off the beaten path narrow cobblestone streets, to savor cuisine not dusted by tourists waving tattered Rick Steves’ guidebooks, and avoid desert-dry overcooking. The desire to “live real” has taken over, somewhat satiated by our own good home cooking and once a week French art classes where I was the only English speaker. Now another English speaker has joined, learning to paint from an elegant spirited French woman and improve language skills too.

Our Easter weekend trip satisfied and also stirred my desires as my husband Jim and I plus our small dog Chablis journeyed 950 miles from Paris to the  Italian countryside via 14 hours on a  fast and slow train. Just like Harriet Sackett in the novel “The Etruscan,” we traveled to Vitorchiano, an hour north of Rome,  in search of history and connection.

Linda Lappin, “The Etruscan” author and her  Italian husband of 21 years Sergio Baldassarre-a renowned Italian cook and dramatist- own a home in old town Vitorchiano.  They spend their weekdays in Rome, Linda teaching, Sergio working as a functionnaire. We first met in 2006 when I attended a writing workshop led by American Cecilia Wolloch in Centro Pokkoli, Linda’s writing center in the double- walled medievil village.

Born of the earth centuries ago by volcanic eruptions, the Etruscan village with earth-brown stone walls, crooked lanes and dramatic cliffs was just what the adventure doctor ordered.  We breathed in cool rain-cleansed country air as we arrived through the gates into the village, staring at the massive Piazza Saint Agnese clock tower.The writing center, our home for the long weekend, stood just across the corner, a warm welcoming flat with a port window view of the valley. I could feel the center’s spirit of place and deep mapping, two of Linda’s writing philosophies, where poet Cecilia Wolloch, Jeffrey Greene, author of “French Spirits” and Linda herself  have guided so many writers. “Bird by Bird” by Annie Lamott and Sue Kidd’s, “The Secret life of Bees” rested among the old friends welcoming us  on the smooth wood writing table. Jim and I slowly exhaled. Chablis sniffed around and settled down for a nap Yes, we were really here.

Next- Sergio’s cuisine and Beyond Vitorchiano and photos

Travelers instead of tourists

Linda Lappin











One Response to “Constant craving”

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