You reach a point when your moleskin's been cut to ribbons, you're nearly out of aspirin and your underwear's been washed a bunch of times in the hotel bidet.
You see yellow train timetables when your eyes are closed and say "Me scusi" to the American tourists in the station when you accidentally wheel your bags over their toes.
When you start losing track of who you are, where you are and why you are, it's time for a vacation from the vacation. No monuments, no agenda, no guidebooks.
There's no better place to do that than the countryside of central Italy. We're currently ensconced in a stone cottage overlooking rolling valleys of olives and vinyards. Cicadas are scratching away in the umbrella pines and the sun is sliding behind the spires of distant hill towns. Up in the main house the cook is making pasta and roasting pork in pomegranate sauce, while the padrone is pouring Scotch for a pre-dinner drink with my father and my husband. My mother's in the bedroom going over her notes on meals and small churches for her next blog post.
There's nothing big here. You can jump in the car and drive on roads that twist and bound over the hills to Orvieto or Tuscania or Civita de Bagnoregio.
Under my feet the the soil is undoubtedly full of Rennaissance coins and Roman columns and smiling Etruscan tombs. I'm content just knowing they're there.
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