Bella Toscana

Eiffel Tower in the distance

Eiffel Tower in the distance


On Friday  as we  took a bus from Porte Maillot at the edge of the Peripherique to an airport over an hour away in Beauvais for our flight to Italy to attend a special and spectacular wedding, we passed many of places we traveled to by boat last year.  But this time we cruised at lightning speed by comparison – with the Eiffel Tower disappearing in the smoggy distance.  We passed the small port towns of Pontoise and L’Isle Adam, crossed over the rivers Seine and Oise several times, and rolled past the bucolic farm lands in just a little more than an hour rather than several long cruising days.

The Four Seasons

The Four Seasons

All the guests stayed at the Villa Catignano,  just a few km north of Siena.  It was here that the Massoni family created a renaissance scene beginning with the early music concert in the villa’s courtyard played on ancient instruments.   The beautiful wedding couple walked past classical sculptures of the “Four Seasons” to the altar at the end of the garden, where Socrates looked on approvingly.

Anne,  the groom Stephen’s eloquent sister  performed the ceremony

Sister and Brother

Sister and Brother

and the celebration began . . .  continuing until late at night for many, and early into the next morning for the rest!

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Our leaders, Claudio and Stephen – Keeping us moving forward was a tough task in this city, so much was a feast for the eyes.

At dawn each day, the dew was heavy on the boxwood maze in the upper garden, but the tall terracotta “Four Seasons” soaked up the damp, saturating their color until the sun rose above the cypress centurions and warmed their bright cheeks.  A double staircase down to the big pots of lemon trees leading to Socrates’ arched niche, the old garden walls studded with shells, the valley barely visible through the shroud of morning mist and above the valley, Siena blushing rosey pink on the distant hill . . . Tuscany is OH! so beautiful.

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The wedding was a beautiful and intimate event. We had warm sunny days of touring Siena, Castelnuovo, and an impressive sculpture park.

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Warm days became cool evenings, with non stop food, prosecco, music and conviviality with old friends, family and new friends.

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The family grows . . .

… We got back to the boat last night about 7 and are now drinking tea in our comfy little boat listening to the pouring rain beating its own special syncopated rhythm on the roof.

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