To get to the room where I sleep at La Macchia from the back door, you first pass through a small entry hall with a bathroom, then through the room where the riding equipment is kept, the walls lined with saddles, bridles, and whips, then through the hall with the winter kitchen to the right, and the main steps to the left. Keep walking straight on, to pass through the telephone room, where all the fencing gear hangs on three of the four walls, and where the door to the larder is all the way to the back and to the left. It is packed with homemade marinara, marmalade, beans, and pasta. Keep going, through the holding room, where platters are held for service in the dining room or great room, depending on the size of the crowd; those are the two doors to your left. The two doors to the right are my bedroom, and a tiny bath with a tinier tub. My room is huge. Massive wooden beams on the ceiling and a bed fitted with cotton sheets as heavy as wool blankets. The windows are eight feet high and even though they are on the first floor, they are twenty feet from the ground.
Below me is the cantina where the olive oil and wine is kept. There is a chariot down there as well and an old convertible Volkswagen bug. There is a press for olive oil, with massive stones and a hook up for the mule, but it is not used anymore.
There are guests visiting at La Macchia from England, and tonight is their last night. There are 36 rooms in this house, and even though they were sleeping directly above me, for their first four nights, I had no idea they were here. I have heard movement up there before when there was most definitely no one else in the house, so I don’t pay attention. The house was built in 1300; possibly before, but that is as far back as the family bible shows record of. If ghosts are going to rumble, this is the place.
I have the honor of being considered family, so as the rest of the family was off to the beach for the weekend, I was asked to look after the guests.
I will cook. I am going to make a mushroom risotto, osso bucco, and a salad of arugula, peaches, chive, red onion, and mozzarella. From there, I don’t know. I have to lift myself from this seat to have a look at what is left in the village market.