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Colleen's Window on Italy, from an Ancient Glassworks in Umbria

Colleen Simpson

A series of essays by Colleen Simpson, owner/operator of l'Antica Vetreria (www.anticavetreria.net) a villa and self-catering apartments in a medieval village on the border of Tuscany and Umbria. Colleen and her husband, Tom, purchased the run down property in 2004 after searching for almost ten years to find a place from which they could share authentic Italian life with visitors. You can also view photos that correspond to several of these stories on Slow Photos.

Window on Italy

Introduction: How Colleen and Tom found the Glassworks and embarked on their dream.

In Lea’s Kitchen: I Learn to Cook Pici, or is it Strangozzi?: Colleen gives us the "secrets" of making and some history behind Strangozzi (or is it Pici?).

A Visit to the Antiques Fair in Arezzo: Colleen shares her experience visiting the renowned monthly antique market in Arezzo.

An Explosion of Flowers, Corpus Domini: Colleen tells the story of her first experience with the celebration of Corpus Domini.

Patience is not my Virtue: Colleen tells the story of her encounter with her commune while trying to get a leak fixed.

A Visit to Gubbio: Colleen tells the story of a visit to Gubbio filled with rain, hail, thunder and rainbows.

Buona Festa: Colleen shares with us the party thrown to celebrate the opening of L'Antica Vetreria.

A Child's View of Assisi: Colleen visits Assisi with her grandson and some friends, tailoring the visit to the interests of the children.

Life in Piazza Matteotti: read about a slice of life in Colleen's "hometown" of Piegaro where Piazza Matteotti acts as the town's social hall.

Corpus Domini Flower Festival in Piegaro, 2010: another year, another Corpus Domini celebration, only this one tinged with sadness.

Ode to Gianni: a hommage to Colleen's friend Gianni.

Chestnut Heaven in Piegaro: description of the festivities surrounding Piegaro's Chestnut Festival (sagra).

Festa Primavera: description of a spring festival started by Colleen's friend in Piegaro.

Time Travel to Medieval Days: description of the town's transformation for a medieval festival.

Monte Vibiano Vecchio Winery: "Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio Cantina is the first, and currently only, carbon neutral vineyard and olive oil producer in the world." Colleen shares about the production, tours and tastings offered.

An Unexpected Message from St. Francis: while exploring San Damiano and Eremo della Carcieri, a mishap occurs.

The Long Table: tales of building, moving, and using the perfect "lungo tavolo" at the villa.

A Surprise Olive Harvest: the story of one lovely fall day and a communal experience harvesting olives at Monte Vibiano Vecchio.

Follow the Swallow of Primavera to Umbria: the signficance of the swallow's return to Umbria in the spring, with legend and lore.

A Plethora of Food at the Weekly Market: Colleen shares a bit of late summer, early fall bounty with us, including a recipe for fig compote.

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