We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Few family lines can claim wealth and influence in a straight line from the 12th Century to today. Usually, decadence, disease, dilution, war - and taxes - take their toll.
Here's a brief history of the family through 1652, from the family's rise in Tuscany, to their power in Milan, to their landholdings in Lombardy. I do not know what their current status is, but they do own at least three islands in Lago Maggiore, including Isola Bella with its palace and remarkably ornate Italian gardens (which are studied in all garden design classes, I am told, even though they may look vulgar to today's spartan Yankee eye). Such things were designed to impress as much as to delight.
All of the soil was brought in by boat:
The family even has a family website, but I don't want to try to struggle with the Italian.
I'll be there in a week or two, mainly to do some Alpine hiking, some eating, and to see a medieval village or two, and I like to know what I am looking at.
So, are you in shape for some Alpine hiking? I'm, uh, sure you're in shape for eating rich Italian pastries. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to try them all, right? Well, that's why they call you Yankees 'spartan', because, like the Spartan warriors of old, you're ready to face the toughest challenge. Will you be able to stuff down one more smerli e pastasciutta con fresco pomodoro cream without heaving your guts?
Well, nobody ever said vacationing was easy. Will you give us some more info as the day approaches? Medieval villages?