La Finestra sul Lago

by Andrew Stein

I spend two nights at this countryside home, and my bedroom window overlooks a beautiful lake, Lago di Vico, with the many walnut trees that surround it.  When I arrive, the whole family (including the three sizeable dogs) welcomes me.  Soon after, we turn on the soccer match on the television and enjoy a family meal together. Giuseppe, who is just about to start college, is a great translator and we bond over several cups of coffee, a digestive or two, and many games of pool and backgammon.

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The next day, I explore the nearby town of Ronciglione, where I run into a few driving challenges based on the tight and steep roads of the area.  I also make my way around the small lake, stop a couple times for snacks and coffee, and enjoy watching people pick the walnuts.  At first glance, I cannot figure out what everyone is doing, but it soon becomes obvious that people are picking the walnuts off the trees that extend over the fence onto the road.

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The second night, I again enjoy a family meal, this time with a couple of their friends.  The energy in the room is high and the mood is very jovial.  The family guests only speak Italian and so I pick up pieces of the conversation here and there, and occasionally Giuseppe brings me back in.  The food is very traditional Italian cuisine, and as I wrap up my second and last night at this wonderful host, I thank Airbnb for providing the opportunity for me to find such an experience about an hour north of Rome.