Una passeggiata nella campagna

Yesterday morning we had a rare opportunity. Maria, our hostess at Politian, is a member of a trekking group, and she invited us to join them on a hike from La Foce to Montepulciano. The unique part is that we followed the same paths that Antonio and Iris Origo led the children war refugees on at the end of World War II. The Germans had taken over La Foce, but there were rumors the Allies were going to bomb it, so they escaped with the children to safety within Montepulciano, about 8 miles away.

We had to get up really early to meet the group at La Foce in order to avoid most of the heat. Everyone says this is the hottest June ever in Tuscany; however, the mornings and evenings are nice. As the group stood together for a photo, they started waving white handkerchiefs. I asked Alberto, my Italian teacher from four years ago (the one who led us astray on the hike to Montefollonico), why, and he said that the white scarves were in case they got lost to signal an airplane.

Bandiere bianche– white flags for safety


Before we began, one of the hikers read a section in Italian from Iris’s book on the flight to Montepulciano with the children. We began by taking a path through a beautiful meadow lined with cypress trees planted by Iris Origo (read her book, War in Val D’ Orcia). We soon hiked into the forest where we came upon a water tank with a dead deer (capriola morto). We kept hiking until we reached a roadside shrine for a pausa. Here the woman read another section of the book, a man read a beautiful poem,  an eight-year-old girl recited an original poem about peace, another young girl played the violin, and another girl recited something from her phone. One woman shared caramelle (candy) with us: little pieces of dried ginger (zenzero). Delicious! (Look into it, Richard, if you get tired of pickling ginger).

Reaching for wild cherries (ciliegie)


Reading passages in Italian from War in Val D’Orcia

Un Bella coppia: a beautiful couple, Kurt and Sandra

The shrine where we took our pausa

Leaving La Foce for Montepulciano

Reading her poem about world peace (pace nel mondo)

Practicing my Italian with a local


Con la mia amica Sandra


About ssteven2

I'm a reader, writer, swimmer, and school librarian. I love my summers so I can travel.
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9 Responses to Una passeggiata nella campagna

  1. What a wonderful experience this must have been! Thanks for sharing it.

  2. shelley scott says:

    Sara – am enjoying your posts! Shelley

  3. jmkennon says:


    For some reason, three of your posts would not let me comment, so I am responding via email. I am so enjoying your blog!

    We have just arrived in Italy. We drove from Zurich, through Austria and the Tyrolean Alps, to Innsbruck, then into Italy. It was just spectacular!

    What an experience you had today! So many interesting aspects of questa passeggiata!

    La ragazza e molto carina!

    Inviato da iPad


    • ssteven2 says:

      Dove in Italia?! I would love to see you before I leave. I have three weeks left! Maybe we can meet somewhere in between for a weekend?! I would love it! Sorry the blog is giving you trouble. Have you started yours?


  4. jmkennon says:

    Okay–I did manage to figure out a couple of the posts–I think I was not waiting for all of the photos to download, and that is why it would not let me comment.

    Inviato da iPad


  5. sandra062013 says:

    Sara, I love the photos – even the ones I am not in 😉 – but I especially admire the concise and cogent way you summarize the trek, hitting all the important points and highlights in one paragraph! I need to take note!

  6. Beth Haggin says:

    Beautiful scenery! Thanks for sharing your adventures!

    • ssteven2 says:

      Grazie, Beth. I’m really enjoying my classes this week. I can tell I’m getting better. At times I hear Italian in my head. It’s the hottest June anyone can remember, but I nap in the afternoon. The mornings and evenings are cool.

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