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Report 581: Autumn in Cetona, a Small Tuscan Hill Town

By Bud Lowe from Washington State, US, Fall 2004

Trip Description: Three-month experience - Sept., Oct. & Nov., 2004 - living in Cetona, Italy, traveling and painting watercolors of Tuscan city scenes and landscapes.

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Tuscany

Categories: Vacation Rentals; Art Trip; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 11: Nostra Casa (Original watercolor)

photo by Original watercolor by Bud Lowe

Nostra Casa

Our idea was to have the experience of living in a small Tuscan hill town for an extended period to get to know the people and become immersed in the language and culture. The plan was to do a lot of watercolor painting interwoven with visits to places we had not seen and do things we had not done in our three previous trips to Italy. After months on the internet we found just the town - Cetona - and just the self-catering apartment we wanted, owned by Patrick and Marilda Vincent ("Casa Marilda" on your internet address line will get their website). It became "our" house for settembre, ottobre and novembre of 2004, made especially enjoyable because of their pleasant hospitality and many kind bits of advice and ideas to enhance our stay.

The first watercolor painting done was the entrance to "our house" in the evening when the inside lights cast a warm, welcoming glow through the glass. Attractive doors are a tradition in Tuscany, so much so that they are featured in calendars, posters and even coffee table books. That tradition, and city building codes, follow a medieval style of fine wood craftsmanship and ornate brass hardware. Our door had very un-medieval insulated glass, the only one that we saw in town. The light reflects on the cobbled courtyard and the opened double door typical of Tuscan homes. When this door is left open it means you are at home. The inside door left ajar is an invitation to visit.

There are laws restricting any architectural changes in the medieval structures in the walled Centro Storico portion of Cetona and other towns, and in villas and farmhouses in the countryside. In Cetona, the windows and doors must remain the same size and no balconies can be added, for example.

Patrick and Marilda moved to Cetona several years ago from New York State and bought a house. Later they purchased an unused adjoining building and remodeled it into this rental apartment. Like all medieval houses, the ground floor was first used as a stable and the original iron rings in the wall to tie up horses and cows are still there in what is now the kitchen, now used to hang up towels.

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