I left Florence by train and met my wife Marilyn at Marco Polo airport outside Venice. We picked our hire car (free upgrade to a Blue Motion VW Passat estate – very nice but with a rather quirky push-button hand brake) and drove to the working farm where we were due to stay for a week with friends – and  friends of theirs who we were to enjoy getting to know.

It was to be a good week with friends but the weather was poor and we had torrential rain on four days. Each evening we ate North Italian rustic cuisine served by the farming family. We had a day trip to Venice when it poured (Marilyn will have to return another time to catch the Venetian light). The farm had a pool so on the days when we didn’t get wet from rain we got wet out of choice! I enjoyed seeing the Palladian buildings in Vicenza but the photos of his iconic Rotunda had to be taken from an open car window because of the heavy rain.  So here is a watercolour instead.


One day our host took us 5000 feet up into the mountains. The day before a farmer and his wife and made the annual journey to take their dairy herd to the mountain pastures. They supplemented their farming with lunches for hikers and our trip was to take up a consignment of wine produced on the farm where were staying to supplement the cheese, polenta and bread they would serve their customers. Once in the mountains we had a torrential rain and hail storm. It was very loud on the Alpine farm’s metal roof. Here is Marilyn with our intrepid host and guide – suitably wrapped up for altitude.


Another day, when the rain cleared up and left a clear late afternoon, we drove up into the Euganean Hills, volcanic outcrops that poke up suddenly from the very flat Veneto plain. The air was like crystal, the road zigged and zagged and the views were beautiful.

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