I'M GOING TO take these posts slowly and not try to describe everything all at once.
We have arrived in Italy and are settling into the house we have rented for the summer. After a few anxious moments (couldn't find the English news channels!!) it became clear that we were going to really like our place. It is an old renovated farmhouse surrounded by wheat fields and green, rolling hills. From the front of the house we look up to the mountaintop village of Panicale (right). The inside of the house is very modern, but with a really Italian-country feel. For example, there is no 'dining room' because the large square table for 8 people is located right in the middle of the kitchen. But the kitchen is big enough that the table doesn't come close to getting in the way.
Yesterday we explored a little bit of Castiglione del Lago, a popular medieval village on Lake Trasimeno which is about 10 minutes from the house. We ran around The main fortress in town was built by Emperor Frederick II in the 11th century and designed by a monk from the nearby town of Cortona.
Last night after dinner the kids and I went outside to watch the wheat harvest. A massive combine rolled right past our house and cut wheat right down to the stalk (do you say stalk?). Who knew that we would arrive on Harvest Day!! Reminded me of my youth, growing up in southeastern Washington State.
So far the interet access has been a bit spotty, but with some luck it will hold up.