On our drive back from Siena, we decided to take a scenic route through Tuscany’s famous vineyards, driving on what the English call the backroads. The dirt track snaked through little hamlets, olive groves, pocket vineyards and overgrowth. It curled up the hills and slithered down some, over a babbling brook and a dried river bed. SP 102 wasn’t the fastest way to travel, but it turned out to be the prettiest. Somehow, it managed to make a magical place even more magical.
As we were rolling along, just out of nowhere, but close to the town of Radda in the Chianti region, we came across an abandoned house made of stone. From the road you could just see this ruin, shyly peeking out of from beneath the thick brush and a covering forest that had been left to rampage. It made a wonderful sight — striking enough for us to stop, pull out our iPhones, and go snap, snap, snap.
Then, curiosity got the better of us. We climbed up the steep incline to the front door, draped by thick cobwebs that looked to be a decade old. Once free of these webs, we walked in, only to be surprised by the interior. Although from the outside the house looked old, it was quite modern inside.
A large earthen pot, a writing desk covered in an inch think dirt, a single chair with a pretty and colorful scarf. And steel stairs that led to the second floor, and an unfinished bathroom. On the top floor a broken sofa slumped on its side, stark against the crumbling roof. The abandoned house was dark, with reflected light from the outside as our only illumination. There was a door that opened into a backyard overrun with weeds and wildflowers. You could tell the forest was winning this battle of bits.
Soon it was time to go — the place gave me the creeps, and, frankly, I didn’t want to deal with bugs and chance of brushing up against poison ivy.
Now, nearly a year has passed and I still think about the villa. What happened there? Why did someone leave it unfinished? Did they run out of money? Did they run out of patience? Did something sinister happen there? It is rather strange that some place you can’t even find again on the map becomes part of your memory. That abandoned house, I guess, isn’t really abandoned.