I woke up this morning to the sound of running water and conversation as light from the upstairs kitchen flowed down the marble stairs that lead to the basement. I felt genuinely rested and warm, which is an abnormality in our cold sleeping area, that was either from the rising temperatures of Vescavado or a remaining sense of home left over from the previous night. It was a great start to an amazing day ahead.
We all got ready for Mass and walked up to the small local church in Vescavado and were greeted with a sign which informed us that the last Sunday Mass of the month was going to be held up the hill in Murlo. We drove up the hill and were warmly greeted into Mass. Although the service was in a foreign language, I realized that there is a universal understanding of God’s love that can cross any language barrier. I could not understand the homily but the priest’s passion was tangible, there was no need for language in that moment.
Mass ended and we continued on to Cortona. Immediately upon arrival we were greeted with an otherworldly view. You know the hyper-realistic landscape paintings where there’s so much detail that you can almost feel the sun against your skin? Well, that was this view, except I could actually feel the sun against my skin and the wind in my hair. The painting had come to life. The markets and the multicolored buildings hugging against each other created a fairytale like senario.
We had an hour and a half to roam around Cortona. We spent the majority of that time in a tabacchi that seemed that an ordinary store on the top floor, but one floor down there was a well filled with coi, a kind man with espresso and wicked wax stamping skills. He recognized my name at the name of the valley that Cortona in located, Chiana. And having a name that is very… unique… my name never gets recognized so it was a very surreal experience. I’m getting to the point in this trip where I want to never leave because of the feeling of home, but don’t worry Mom and Dad and Blake, I will.