Savoring the Slow Life in Italy

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | July 3rd, 2008 | 4 Comments
topic: Eco Travel

I’m writing from Pergolaccio, a 300-year-old stone farmhouse near the Umbrian hill town of Todi. Here in the center of Italy, it’s unusually verdant after a cold, wet spring. Today, though, the sun is out: warming the breeze, drying the dew, backlighting the rose petals on the arbor, dissolving the blanket of mist that fills the valley below. To the south, ruined castles and occasional villas perch on ridges, beige limestone blocks with red tile roofs, simple windows cut deeply into thick plaster walls.

This place is my home for a week. We are renting it, with seven friends, for an immersion in Italian rural life — a quest for a ray of “Tuscan sun” (though we are in quieter Umbria next door) that’s so evocative for seekers of a slower-paced life lived closer to the land. Rather than spend a week dashing between major cities, for all their magnificent history and culture, we are going deep: choosing one locale and discovering it more intimately.

Today, I detoured through the rows of a vineyard on a walk down the dirt road from the villa. I was in search of the church whose bells were ringing on a far-off hilltop. On the way home, I clambered over the crumbling walls of an abandoned village. And later, I cooked. We are mostly making our own meals, augmenting them with $4 bottles of regional wines. We frequent local shops, getting acquainted with Umbrian fare: fresh-pressed olive oil, tangy pecorino cheese, tartufo (black truffle) sauce over strangozzi pasta, vine-ripe tomatoes and apricots, local honey, white wines from Orvieto… Eating this well, with what for Italians are simple basics, may be akin to what it’s like for a sightless person to suddenly see a rainbow, for a deaf person to hear Vivaldi.

I hope I’ve piqued your senses with this ‘virtual postcard’ – check back for my next post for more on slow food and slow travel – better for the human spirit and better for the Earth.

Savory travels,


P.S. For a look at Pergolaccio, visit


  1. nice..
    Wendy.. Do you know Slow Food? Is a movement based in Bra, Piedmont.. If you loved absolutely have to visit Bra, Alba and the nearby.

    Lori | July 20th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  2. Lori,

    My next post (forthcoming), which dovetails from my experience at Pergolaccio, actually mentions Slow Food, and a movement called Slow Travel, too. Unfortunately, I did not get to Bra or Alba, but I shall surely look into the prospect for my next trip to Italy — which won’t be soon enough! Thanks for writing.

    Wendy Redal | August 6th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  3. [...] The week we spent in an Italian country villa was a different sort of vacation experience that allowed us to explore a limited location calmly and in more detail.  Our choice fit within an approach called “Slow Travel,” the notion that spending a week in a self-catering rental in a single place offers a richer level of discovery than staying in a hotel and racing to hit a host of far-flung attractions. [...]

  4. Hi Lori
    Can you post your email?
    Would like to consult with you regarding the house you mentioned.

    Ronit | December 7th, 2008 | Comment Permalink

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