We arrive at the castle in midmorning, long before I expect a room to be ready, and the desk clerk says, “About an hour.”
It is my first encounter with the Italian “about an hour.” Everything in Italy takes “about an hour” which means, I come to learn, anything from fifteen minutes to half a day.
We park our suitcases and walk around the castle grounds. In the foreyard are brass statues of two dogs, something like basenjis, some sort of hunting dogs. For seven hundred years there have been dogs in this castle, this type of hunting dog. Seven hundred years of dogs. That makes me happy.
The castle looks like a castle should look, with two towers and crenellated battlements – although it must be said that this is a small castle, not some grand Versailles or Buckingham. A local castle, and sort of friendly; the rich guys lived here, but you get the sense that they weren’t as obnoxious about it as they would have been in another country.
We take the elevator to go up to the battlements, an incongruity that makes me smile, and we discover that in Italy the floor buttons on elevators don’t light up when you push them but when the car reaches the floor.
“How do you know the elevator heard you?” Jessica wonders.
“I guess you have to have faith,” I say.
We walk around the battlements, Jessica taking my hand so she doesn’t stumble on the stones, and we look out on the vineyards and the small town spread out below.
“You can see so far from here,” Jessica says.
“It almost makes up for the mountains,” I say.