On the little road where I live, which runs along a river, just before you reach the nearest town, there's a small gap in the fence, where a path leads steeply down to the river below. In fifteen years of driving up and down this road numerous times a day, I'd never noticed it.
Rebecca and I went through this gap in the fence and walked down the path for the first time one day, at the end of summer. We crossed the river on a makeshift bridge, and climbed the riverbank on the other side. Beyond, hidden by vegetation and the ruins of an old wall, is a horse stable.
There I sat looking at Rebecca fulfilling her dream of riding a horse, in a secret field surrounded by olive trees shimmering silvery, vineyards glowing emerald in the sunlight. It was one of those moments when I felt all the difficulties of living in the middle of nowhere, rural Italy melt away, and a warming sense of all that country life here has to offer.