I’d like to tell you a short story about how my husband and I got involved in a new experience, which turned out to be very important for the both of us.

My name is Maria Cristina Grandi, I and my husband Aldo Gottardo are a blessedly well matched couple, confidently treading the path of life, linked since our early youth by an intensely led existence and by a deep spiritual and sentimental affinity.

Aldo has managed, through commitment and stubbornness, to reap his professional rewards, he’s esteemed and well liked. I am an accountant, and we live between Padua and Vicenza in a house we both love, with our furry darlings Rose, Shary and Camilla.

Like many others, we led a hectic modern life, working to consume, but now, due to the economic crisis, a new awareness is spreading to change one’s lifestyle. So, it happens that we too are sometimes able to see things from above, as they really are.

Both fond of travelling, we’ve extensively explored the lands of the East, drawn by an interest in their culture and philosophical thought, and surely, some still vital seed spread by the Himalayan winds was about to take root...

At a certain point of our peaceful existence, contaminated by a poor quality of life (stress, pollution, lack of real freedom), the whole Universe conspired to change our ways.

So, we started to look for a hypothetical fulfillment of our innermost dreams, and, since it’s the possibility of living one’s dreams that makes life interesting and worthwhile, the Universe started plotting our course through “luck” and “coincidence”.

We saw things in a new light, our desires and our reason motivated our actions, well aware that change is a journey before being a goal, where nothing’s easy, but nothing’s impossible, if driven by a positive faith.

Yes, “Love”, this wild force, this uncontaminated energy that also reveals itself in life’s coincidences.

So we could say that everything started by “chance”, in the sunny July of 2012.

My sister Valentina, who lives in Florence and is a professional tourist guide, called me to dutifully wish me a happy birthday.

On that occasion she hinted to a small ruined homestead, needing a total rebuild, in the Chianti area, inherited, and now on sale by a dear friend of hers.

Even though this information struck a chord within us (the thought of owning property in the rolling Chianti hills being an idea in the realm of dreams), but just because it was Chianti, it seemed to be just an unachievable dream for our family, so at the dinner table I just made a short mention about it to Aldo.

A few weeks later, in mid-August, my sister joined us on lake Garda, where we were spending our summer holidays.

As we were casually chatting under our porch, totally relaxed after lunch, sipping an excellent cool Franciacorta, fate had us talking of this hamlet situated in the town of Radda in Chianti, Badiaccia a Montemuro.

Singing praise of the place, Valentina insisted that we at least pay a brief visit.

I can still recall her words, “It’s August, and you’ll be taking a small trip through that lovely countryside, enjoy the excellent Tuscan fare, and then just think about it”.

That’s how it all began (maybe with the help of the bubbly wine?).

A few days later, we then visited Badia a Montemuro, formerly known as Badiaccia a Montemuro.

It’s a medieval hamlet, a forgotten cluster of dwellings, and the small farm was known in olden times as “Podere il poggetto”.

It was rejuvenating, in an enchanting, seldom-seen countryside, where we admired the restored ancient Tuscan dwellings, and it was there that we personally felt how soothing it all was to our souls.

We found the tranquility of a forgotten way of life, which in our times has regained its inestimable value.

It’s a great privilege to live it touch with Nature in a hamlet rich in tradition, which has kept the pace of the old times, with the singing of birds and the ringing of distant bells, where time seems to have stopped.

To relax wandering, or to go shopping on foot or on a bicycle far from the din of traffic is an experience that in only a few places one can savour.

We thus knew a deep, fresh awareness, which strummed the silvery threads of our dreams, like the tethers of kites in an azure and tranquil sky.

So, there was the dilemma, the important decision that Aldo and I, the characters of this tale, had to take. We had to test the feasibility of a dream, a surprising challenge, unexpected but wished for. We had to decide whether to open that door or run away...

We had to think like an eagle who from the heights surveys its vast surroundings, the wide horizon. We understood that we all have wings, and that only by dreaming and daring can we learn how to fly. As always, we are the main characters in our lives, and we strive to fulfill our dreams, knowing that they always come at the right moment.

So we made up our minds to embark on this great adventure!!!!!!!!! And from the newborn idea of a dream, slowly but passionately, we began developing this new creature/project for the future.

Unique in their affection, their patience, and their sheer professional skills, were our dear friends Nadia and her husband Silvano, our trusted advisors through all the paperwork and technical requirements needed to rebuild the twelfth-century structures, who assisted us on this journey. In a not so distant future it will all be restored to its original beauty, perfectly integrated in its pleasant surroundings, matching the charm of the ancient Tuscan homes with the astounding landscape.

We deeply agree with, and share, Shakespeare’s line: “We are made of the stuff of dreams”. Reality, before it exists, is at first in our minds. When the dream becomes real, it enters our life, shapes it, and changes it, so that it becomes as one.

Our heartfelt thanks to: Roberto Piva, for developing the site; Andrea Peruzzi, for his historical research; our friends Silvano Corà and Nadia Bollettin for their technical savvy; Sandro Miranda for his translation; Giulia Pandolfo for the photographic reportage, and Frasca Odorizzi for designing the family emblem.

Cristina e Aldo,
Rose e Shary