Thursday 20th June
We arrived at the home of the Count and Countess Bolza in the early evening it was in a truly beautiful location on the Castello Di Reschio estate.
The Countess Nencia Bolza has been happily married for nearly 13 years to Count Benedikt Bolza. They have 5 children ranging from 12-5 years old.
I met Giorgiana Bolza (Count Benedikt and Countess Nencia’s eldest daughter) named after the Princess Giorgiana Corsini (her Grandmother) whom we sang for on our first day in Florence. She told me that she studies in Firenze ( Florence ) and lives with her mother’s twin sister there in the week. She studies four languages (German, Italian, French and English) she may be studying in England next year.
Count Benedikt Bolza’s parents renovated Max’s house 26 years ago, which is how he knows the family. Count Benedikt moved to Italy from a variety of home backgrounds. He is half Hungarian yet he was born and grew up in Munich in Germany. He then studied in London and then finally moved to Italy where he met Nencia whilst they were painting a house, which I thought was so romantic.
They got married at the palace where it rained all day. They were fine as the ceremony took place under the arches. Unfortunately her guests got soaked. She remembers the men hiding under the large hats and corsages of their female companions to escape the rain! In Italy they say that if you are married on a rainy day you will have lots of children; and they did! Four girls and the last a boy.
They renovated their home together. They had to combine several small houses into the one house but luckily Count Benedikt is an accomplished Architect. I’ve never seen such a beautiful kitchen! There were spice jars everywhere and blackboard which covered a whole wall.
We were presented with a stunning dinner; antipasti of meats and bread, then onto the main course – steak. For dessert we had homemade ( brandy ) ice cream and a fruit custard tart which was bliss! Such wonderful cooking. We then performed in the open air of her garden; Stanford’s “The Blue Bird” and Faure’s “Cantique de Jean”.
Countess Nencia was telling me how she is planning a showcase for the local children. She is using her hidden talents (as Count Benedikt says) as she is choreographing a number from “Singing in the Rain”, creating the costumes by hand. She has some marvellous ideas and I wish her all the best in this venture. I wish I was there to help, I used to love going to Stagecoach Theatre Arts school in my school holidays. As part of a group of children we had just one week to create a stage show with the help of fabulous teachers. Each year we achieved a fantastic final performance and every year I did something different from “Oliver “ to “Honk”.
Following our performance, Countess Nencia asked us to sing for her husband who had to leave on a zooming motorbike following our dessert because they have opened a new factory in their grounds. The factory is to be used to manufacture interior pieces such as ornaments and home furniture.
Luckily for me the bus arrived just in time and saved me the walk. On the journey Countess Nencia asked Diego to drive very slowly and leave his headlights off for a moment so we could see the dancing of the fireflies which was truly amazing. (But I’m biased as I love anything bright and twinkly!)
Soon we arrived at the the old tobacco factory which is to become Count Benedikt’s new offices. I was carried up the stairs in a human carriage like something that I would have expected to see in an Cleopatra movie. I’m not saying I could get used to this but… When we reached the top we sang an encore for Count Benedikt who’d missed our performance in the garden as a special thank you for their kindness and hospitality.
It was a fabulous way to end the night. However I am not a big drinker of wine and having missed the water call during the meal and being so excited to be talking to Countess Nencia that I forgot to ask for extra to drink, as a result I became rather dizzy as I was not used to the heat, I carried on, sang my very best and just on cue, after the performance I asked for a large water and promptly fainted, fortunately Kathryn, Marcus and Colin were behind and caught me.
So I would like to pass on my thanks to the Count and Countess for their wonderful hospitality and to my friends for looking after me at the end of a very hot long day. I usually drink loads of water, perhaps I had a bit too much heat, after all I am a blonde Northerner 🙂 and more used to wind and rain although I’ve been told it’s been nice weather all week at home.