Fortunately, you can’t hear the sound from La  Chicca’s bedroom window, the singing of a thousand randy frogs recently released into the world and enjoying the damp spaces and pond set among the vegetable canes and rows of vines.

Heaven only knows (pun intended) what Blessed Angiolo Paoli thinks about it all as he looks down on his little chapel (just behind the green roof in the main picture). I was going to say that he is probably thinking that it wasn’t like this when he was born here 375 years ago, but, on reflection, it probably was. There might have been more people here then, since Argigliano suffers from the same drift to the city that afflicts so much of the Italian countryside these days. The village shop which served 198 inhabitants when we bought our house here 13 years ago, now serves only 91, according to the latest published figures. Unsurprisingly, it has closed. Fortunately, this has put a spring in the step of the merchants of neighbouring Pieve san Lorenzo, which in order to survive, has rationalised its own alimentari, so that the butcher now sells a lot more than meat (and chocolate), the grocer’s shop now has a good range of fruit as well, and the former owners of the minimarket now put a much more smiley face on the sale of railway tickets and service of coffee and snacks at the local railway station and bar. It’s also quite a good place for a game of cards.

If you want something more substantial, Mario at il Borghetto does an excellent pizza, either to eat in or take away, or you can indulge yourself in steak with coffee, tagliata, or his very good stufato di asino(in season:-).

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