A Hidden Gem: Follina, Italy
We left Slovenia and drove through the mountains, across highways and finally down the narrow dirt road to our house in Follina. We rented the house on Airbnb and were not sure what to expect. We didn’t know a lot about this region of Italy and had rented the place on a whim. When we pulled into the driveway, Brian and I looked at each other in excitement.
The house was situated on a quiet country road, only about five minutes from the main road in town. It was tucked behind a few hills covered in vines, surrounded by a babbling brook and fields and hidden from the road by small bushes woven together to create a fence. The house sat before us, with red shutters, stone walls and a canopy of vines stretching to the outdoor living area to our left, which boasted large glass windows revealing a couch, comfy chairs, a kitchen table and much more. As we got out of the car, Emmanual emerged from his house, walking across the stone patio to meet us. “Bonjourno!" he exclaimed.
The inside of the house was even more stunning and beautiful than the outside. The windows were all open, allowing for the sunlight to creep in, and there was a fire lit in the stove. The floors and walls were stone, and there was a huge fireplace to the left, with two cozy chairs perfectly placed in front of it, small decorated plates on the walls and Murano glass chandeliers hung from the ceiling. I couldn't wait to sit down, put my feet up and chill out.
We took in all of the perfectly thought out details as Emmanual showed us around. We found fresh food (cheese, bread, fruit, yogurt and more!) in the refrigerator, a bottle of chilled Prosecco begging to be opened, bags of fresh lavender in every room and a small bed set up in one of the rooms for Andy. The minute Andy saw the bed, he ran across the room and jumped into it, laughing and yelling loudly, "My bed!" After such a long ride, packed into our teeny, tiny Italian car, all of the stress and exhaustion began to dissipate.
Our Italian is sub-par, and Emmanual's English was a little broken, so we did our very best to understand one another as we took in all of the details about linens, the fireplace and where everything was. Once we set our bags down and got the lay of the land, Andy began running in circles outside, playing in the dirt. He found various pans, buckets and garden tools and piled them up on a picnic table and pretended to be camping. Emmanual sat down with us at the table in the outdoor space. Then, he disappeared momentarily, only to reappear with a bottle of Prosecco, cheese and a map of the area. In his suave Italian accent, he showed us where his favorite wineries were and pointed out the easiest way to get to them.
Once Emmanual left, we made dinner and settled in for the night. We were so glad to be in a place where we could spread out and relax. We loved Slovenia, but it was so nice to have good weather and space for Brian and I to talk, relax and enjoy each other without worrying about waking Andy. We sat at the kitchen table, huddled near the warm stove for several hours, laughing and talking about the last few weeks until finally we were tired enough for bed. I don't think it took more than two minutes for either of us to fall asleep once our heads hit the pillow!