While in search of a toy store to find something simple for Charlotte's birthday, we happened on a poster hanging in the piazza that sparked some excitement.
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly was being shown as an evening outdoor movie in the center.
As a kid growing up, these were my dad's favorite movies. I have such fond memories of both summer and winter nights, curling up and watching his favorite westerns with him.
These films were the beginnings for Clint Eastwood. He starred in a few "spaghetti westerns" which were filmed in Italian and then translated into English for viewing in western culture.
We were kind of excited to see that and talked Francesco and Julie into making it a date with our family.
It was being shown in it's original, uncut, full Italian, version, so Grant offered to babysit the littles.
Sure enough, that movie ran for a full three hours with two intermissions.
The Italians sure know how to make a hot summer night fun. Good company, a great movie and gelato at intermissions.
No one even seemed to mind as Newel sang along to the movie theme music.
On our last night, Julie and Francesco brought out these lanterns to light and float into the night sky.
We all wrote on them.
And floated them into until they disappeared.
Taking Eliza to bed she said it was her favorite thing ever and she felt pretty magical.
I had already tucked into bed when big kids came into my room and asked if Newel and I would come exploring into some of the shut up parts of the house.
In the dark because there was no electricity that far into the house.
I threw the covers over my head and tried to ignore their requests.
But they won.
So we took off snooping around in the dark and dusty recesses of forty unused rooms trying to keep our wits about us and not die of fright.
There was a set of back stairs complete with bells from rooms to alert servants.
One of the rooms was covered with sheets and dust and these pretty cool silhouettes.
We held it together pretty great until we came to an open closet full of cremation urns.
And then the romanticism of our "Downton Abby" in Italy seemed really ... really ... far away as we scrambled over one another back to our well lit side of the house.
We had a good laugh at our jitters and a fitful sleep ;)
On the morning of our departure, Francesco outdid himself with a fantastic breakfast.
Julie sat with me and translated the recipe for her amazing apple cake.
We hugged our friends goodbye and we've missed them every day since.
And hit the road again.