We’ve had a love affair with Tuscany for more than twenty years. Last year we decided to embrace the Italian way of life and bought a house in Cortona about 90 minutes drive south-east of Florence. Vonnie has always loved the book Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes and our Italian home is in the same village.
The foundations of our home are about 400 years old and Vonnie has brought her signature interior design style to its refurbishment. She has a way of making things simple and beautiful, a love for old timbers, decorative wrought iron and a delight in masses of foliage. The view takes in green, undulating hills and vineyards as far as the sunset. It reminds us of the setting we have here at Meletos. There are many similarities between the Yarra Valley and Tuscany.
We adore the slow lifestyle that is the Italian way. There is always time for sharing with others, for connecting and being part of village life. The rhythms of the seasons are celebrated in what feels like an endless series of festivals. The harvesting of the wine, the mushrooms, the tomatoes, the olives – all reasons for the people to gather in the piazza for fun and fellowship.
Family is everything – you see generations living life together, out and about, walking, drinking wine, laughing and relaxing. Time is given for leisurely chats over an espresso or gelato, for siestas mid-afternoon, for simply enjoying life without the pressures of busyness.
We value that sense of embracing ‘life in the moment’ and want to keep that soft momentum in Australia. The Italian way of living in community, in family and with purpose is how we want to live and share with others.
In Italy, when you invite someone over for dinner, you are inviting the whole family. You always need to be ready to add chairs to the table, and have extra food as others will always come. That’s why long tables and shared platters are such a common way to dine. There is a deep and genuine respect for heritage, for the past and for traditions. Living slowly gives everyone time to be real.
We love Cortona and bring what we cherish there to the table at Meletos for our ‘Ciao Toscana Ciao’ dinner. From ‘stuzzichini’ – roaming shared plates of Italian canapes – in the courtyard, to a shared feast under festoon lights at Meletos, we will savour the best of Italian food and selected Italian wines, one slow deliberate bite at a time.
Steve and Vonnie Frazer, Meletos