The Power of Positive Thinking….
A lovely place to reside IF you can pinpoint the exact place to go in your mind AND then remain in that happy place until you reach your intended goal. Not an easy task for me today. My wish is to find a new apartment for next month. I can’t live with the non-stop noise and renovations to my apartment. I begin my search at 4:30 a.m. pouring over rental ads posted online. When my daughter Bree, who is staying with me for a few days, wakes, I inform her of my 4:00 a.m. fiasco with the local Pizzaman… (see previous post: BASTA BASTA BASTA).
Bree is mortified, as only a daughter can be, when her mother inevitably embarrass her with public displays of insanity.
Fortunately she recovers relatively quickly from her latest motherly humiliation and we set out on a dedicated search for a new apartment. Bree is positive and upbeat as we look at the few rentals available in the city. They are either rented, too dark, too expensive, or simply not suitable. Existing on espresso and one hour of sleep, by lunch I’m visibly discouraged. I am desperately in need of an inspiring pep-talk. Being the pragmatic woman my daughter is, she encourages me to “think positive Mom, think positive.” She questions me with, “Do you know of anyone who could help?” With a tiny glimmer of hope, I list the few resources I have here in Florence beginning with Federica, my original landlady. I’m aware that all of Federicas apartments at Residenza del Palmerino, are booked for the entire summer, and into early fall. As Bree points out, Federica might know of someone who would rent a room in a quieter neighbourhood. If only until the renovations are finished on my place, at least I could get some much-needed sleep…. however, I must admit at this point I’m not very optimistic!!
FYI – I neglected to mention in my last post, that my apartment had a water-leak and is currently under renovations. The bathroom has a 1′ x 3′ foot gaping hole in the floor between the neighbours bathroom and mine. I can actually see into their bathroom and they into mine. Imagine brushing your teeth knowing your neighbour has a view of you from your feet up. The contractors have been working on the problem for the past three days and we’ve been without water for two of those three days.
I make the call to Federica….I’m astonished when she explains that 15 minutes earlier, an elderly renter with mobility issues cancelled his 7 week reservation for the Garden Apartment. He was unable to navigate the narrow path that leads to the Apartment that she manages for her Aunt Beatrice. The Apartment is a stones throw from the room I rented in Federica’s home when I first arrived in Florence.
Two small complications… it’s twice the rent I’m currently paying, AND my noisy apartment is paid in full for the next 3-1/2 weeks. I need to make a decision as this particular Garden Apartment never stays vacant for long. She has offered it to me on the condition I come look at it this afternoon….another possible renter has requested to view it tomorrow.
What to do, what to do….worry about the money OR sleep in paradise?
Breanne presses me to at least go look at the place. After my early morning outburst with the Pizzaman, (and her having been my daughter for 23 years), she knows I require a tranquil place to lay my head. We finish our lunch, and strike out on my bicycle to view the apartment. Bree suggests we pack an overnight bag in the off-chance I decided to splurge and rent it. (such a practical daughter… could it be she’d like a good nights sleep too?)
Below are the grounds we encounter once inside the main gate…………
We are naturally awestruck by the picturesque lane curving toward the whitewashed home that is graciously encircled by the gradual upsweep of lovingly tended lawns. The house is bordered with lush long-stemmed flowers that shade the main-house from the intense Tuscan sun. Multiple gardens and grassy open spaces tenderly greet tidy rows of vines laden with plump fleshy grapes ripening in the afternoon sun. A horse gently neighs his greeting to us as he feasts on grass and figs that have fallen from ripening trees.
A faded wicker chair cradles a sleeping cat under a shaded trellis. (seriously… it’s as if we’ve entered an oasis of tranquility)
The name of the apartment is “la limonaia” (because of its use in the 1930s as a safe winter haven for potted lemon trees on the property) Even before we enter the front door we are in love with the apartment. The glass & metal door beckons us forward with its graceful arch and hand forged steel panels.
Sculpted terracotta ceilings guide us through the serene apartment.
The bathroom is charming and unique, a clever use of the limited space combining, sink, toilet and shower all-in-one. It’s tucked neatly behind an under-height door, and located beneath a stairwell, (well, the underside of a stairwell I assume leads to another apartment above this one). Notice the ceiling/stairwell behind the toilet… no standing up at this commode gentlemen.
The kitchen sink, and stove are framed with an arch that mirrors the entrance door of this peaceful apartment.
Bree looks at me with a wide knowing smile and whispers “see Mom… it’s perfect for you!”
“I’ll take it, I reply to the owner Beatrice when she inquires as to what I’ve decided”.
As Beatrice hands me the keys, my head is filled with thoughts of sleeping in this peaceful room and I struggle to hear her instructions of how to operate the stove, where the washer is located, what button to push in order to open the main gate, where I can store my bike, or the fact that the family will be hosting the yearly Vendemmia in six weeks. She graciously invites me to join in the annual picking of the grapes with her family, neighbours, and close friends.
A remarkable turn of events, in less than 12 hours, a new chapter in my Italian Adventure beckons, I can’t imagine a more idyllic location, or more welcoming people to share it with…. my cell phone rings, it’s Federica she invites Bree and I to dine with her family under the stars tonight to celebrate my new apartment….
I turn to my daughter and admit…OK OK you were right!!!
Think Positive Mom, you never know what can happen!!
***(Below are a few photos of the spectacular grounds)
Beatrice beloved flowersTomato harvest
View of the vines Figs & leaves I picked from the Tree
Flowers picked by my landlady Beatrice to welcome me home…
Art in the Garden
Pumpkin growing in the garden
sunflowers thriving in the summer sun….. perfect!!