It seems that much of the northern hemisphere has been enjoying a white Christmas, even in places where this is rare like my home in southern England, and like a part of Texas where the last white Christmas was in 1926! Here in Italy the weather looked to be heading that way less than a week before the big day, with thick snow and daytime temperatures below freezing. Here are Lorenza and I on the Sunday before Christmas in the snow outside her cousins’ house, in a beautiful hilltop location on the edge of the Chianti and overlooking the city of Florence. My car only just made it through the ice and snow.
But by two days later the weather had completely changed. All the snow had gone, and the temperatures started to feel almost summery – so much so that on Wednesday we decided to visit the beach, at Viareggio, and I even put my feet briefly in the sea.
With the thaw and the rain came floods, and by Christmas Day the motorway to the beach was inundated and closed. Yesterday, with the weather still mild but briefly bright, we went back to Lorenza’s cousins, and were able to make the tour they had promised us of the hidden jewels of the Chianti – beautiful little hilltop towns and villages set in amazing countryside, enjoyed with a glass of the local Chianti Classico. The only snow in sight was on a distant Appennine peak.
So, as we heard a children’s choir singing yesterday in a Chianti village square, the Italians, or at least the Tuscans, are still only “dreaming of a white Christmas”.
But Lorenza and I have had enough adventures in less than a month here that I think I could write a book about them. Or maybe a series of blog posts – so watch this space!