Evening Surprise

Day 18, continued

After our long day in Rome and quick grocery shopping trip, we continued home to Miralaghi for the last time. We’re off to Venice tomorrow.

The last leg of the drive to our farmhouse on the hill is about ten minutes of bumping and zigzagging up, up, up a narrow “dirty” (Maria’s not-quite-correct yet perfect word for it) road. Some Americans, perhaps many, might consider this road a problem or, at the very least, a drawback of this location. Come to think of it, Barb and Mike might consider it that, too. I actually like it: It keeps the pansies and the riff-raff out.

Barb’s favorite time to drive the dirty road is at night because she can see in advance if there are headlights approaching. That means she can travel faster and use momentum to get up some of the tougher hills. During the day, you never know what’s coming around the corner, so we have to go slower, which means first gear on some hills. Mind you, I think we’ve met a car twice in the two weeks we’ve been driving this road.

Being the last drive up, Mike decided to video it. Despite the fact that it turned out to be an exciting drive, the full video is way-yonder too bumpy, blurry, and boring to make you sit through it. However, I will ask you to sit through these 16 seconds. Mark, set, go.

Did you notice Mike’s two-word summary from (yesterday) Day 18—Cinghiale surprise? Well, that was it! Cinghiale = wild boar. Those cute piggies on the dirty road are wild boars, and we saw at least six of them. I don’t think Barb’s seen them on previous trips to Italy. In general, I think boars are pretty elusive, so that was really exciting.

Would you believe that was just the beginning of what turned out to be a wildlife drive? Shortly afterward, we saw a rabbit. Or hare. We’ve seen it several times in the vicinity. It’s quite big.

And then—oh, yes, there’s more!—we saw what appeared to be a marten. Are there pine martens in Italy? Why, yes, yes there are! European pine martens. Sorry, no pics. It was dark, and the video didn’t catch it.

American pine marten clinging to a tree trunk.

We didn’t get the European pine marten on camera, but this is an American pine marten found in Alaska. The European one seemed a similar size, but darker, more mink-like in color.

We haven’t seen this much wildlife since our evening walk along the flooded Arno. What a great end to our stay at Miralaghi.

Categories: Italy, Travel

2 replies »

  1. Notice my breathless cries of cinghiale! cinghiale! cinghiale! You should take two things away from that. One, I enjoyed using the few Italian words I picked up. And two, after all the interesting, impressive, and amazing things we saw in Italy, I was probably most excited to see a couple pigs in the wild. That definitely says something about me. I’ll leave it to others to say what, exactly.

  2. Sounds like you’re having a fantastic trip! You and Mike can find the wildlife anywhere you go! Amazing!