I felt I was in a painting by Renoir. He created the sublime by capturing joyous and festive moments depicting people in the midst of nature’s beauty. Kaitzer, the girls and I were spending a Sunday afternoon visiting our friends Tony and Andrea Assaf at the Villa Serenella, an 18th century monastery in the hills outside of Rome.
We sat on an old slate patio overlooking 15 acres of olive, fruit and pine trees, and at gardens adorned with fountains and statuary images of saints. The Villa Serenella, now the Collegio of San Isaia (The College of Saint Isaiah) is owned by the Antonine order of the Maronites.
It was la dolce vita, the sweet life. We were served mostaccioli rigati, ridged pasta that Italians call “little mustaches.” They were drenched in pesto, olive oil and Pecorino Romano. Olives, assorted meats and breads for dipping adorned the table. I thought of an Italian Proverb, “A tavola non si invecchia,” (at the table one doesn’t get old).