A lovely earth-angel withdrew from life as I knew it this past winter. Her name was Beatrice Angeli. Yes, her last name was Angel… She was my landlady the second time I stayed at Residenza del Palmerino.
She wore many hats in her lifetime, however when I met her she was managing her family home, the land and the four rooms she rented to travellers such as myself in search of a quiet, comfortable, stunningly beautiful experience in the heart of Tuscany.
My time in her care was angelic to say the very least. She was a woman of strong character, with an idyllic fascination toward humanity. Every year she would travel to India, living in an Ashram to reconnect herself and further her spiritual studies. When she returned home to Italy, she devoted her time to restoring famous paintings, caring for her animals, the lush gardens on the property as well as nurturing the close bond she shared with family and friends.
In her spare time she prepared delicious homemade jams for sale. All donations raised from the funds collected went to help the kids of India. I’m at a loss for adequate words to describe the succulent flavours I savoured, over the years, in jar after jar of the various jams I slathered on thick Italian bread.
My personal mouth-watering favourite was fichi (figs). I will miss the joy on her face as she prepared her special jellies and shared them with those she loved. My thighs are adjusting to life without her succulent and addictive nectar. I swear she added some mysterious dependency forming ingredient when I wasn’t looking. Or perhaps it was simply the Tuscan sun and her loving touch.
In September of 2013, I had the pleasure of assisting her in the slicing of ripe figs for what would be her final collection of jams. Knowing my love of figs, she offered me the perfect ones to nibble over the 3 hours I worked side by side with her on that glorious afternoon, I walked away with a belly ache and had to cancel my dinner plans. Ohhhh who am I kidding, I’ve never cancelled a chance to enjoy Italian food…. not EVER!
You couldn’t help but adore Beatrice, she was filled with a unique joy and appreciation for every form of life. Her overindulgence of animals was well known to everyone who entered her home. The picture below of her cat napping, in a box on her table, was classic Beatrice. She would do anything for her four-legged friends. As I soon discovered, she expressed her love of friends in a similar fashion, allowing gifts and compliments to flow freely in her home. In addition she shared her disapproval equally generously. One night I had a few appetizers and wine in my apartment. I attempted to serve what I knew to be fried-polenta. Her response to me was, “this my dear is NOT polenta, it’s corn and it’s yellow, but it is defiantly not polenta. You come to my kitchen next week and I will show you how.” I’m sorry to say I never took her up on the offer to teach me her authentic recipe.
Having the honour of spending time with my lovely friend Beatrice Angeli was one of the blessings I was afforded while living in Tuscany.
Below I’ve added a link to the story I wrote about my time in her home surrounded by her loving care and uniqueness of spirit.
I’d love to hear your story of an Angel who touched your world through their life and how they lived it. Please leave your comments below.. Shauna