We had the opportunity to befriend Gabrielo Menci, a local artist and gardener, in Castiglion Fiorentino. Gabrielo’s smile is contagious and he truly embodies the philosophy to appreciate the simple things in life. His art studio sits in the tree tops filled with watercolor paintings, sketches, and pressings. Even the black and white sketches seem to tell a story of a faraway world of color and wonder. Under his studio lies a magnificent garden that has been nurtured and loved for several generations. He grew up helping his father in the garden and learning how to care for the plants. Gabrielo grows his produce organically to prevent further leaching to mother nature. He is currently growing legumes throughout his garden to naturally fix the nitrogen in the soil. It was fun to wonder down each isle and hear the family’s favorite ways to enjoy the different vegetables. Gabrielo attempts to grow enough fruits and vegetables to supply his family with food throughout the year with little trips to the market. Some years are more fruitful than others. It was fascinating to discover that his lime tree’s leaves have the fragrance of Fruit Loops! The strawberries (fragole) were the sweetest I have ever tasted. I would love to have enough space to reduce my ecological footprint with a similar year-round garden. As my garden grows, I hope to retain a fraction of Gabrielo’s enjoyment for life and beauty.