We have finally met Professore Roberto Venanzoni, with whom Susan has been corresponding for months. We’re staying in Camerino, where the professor keeps a place for his elderly parents. He looks after them for the three days a week that he isn’t teaching at the university in Perugia.
Roberto is fun, helpful, and incredibly energetic. He guides everything we do with firm courtesy. He makes sure that we have authentic Italian meals and don’t ask for ketchup. He fills in blanks in our understanding of Italian plant communities and shows us the amazing forest of potted trees on his patio, which includes a two-foot California redwood and a boxelder from Arizona. He tells us about growing up the traditional way in the village of Serrapetrona. Roberto is a wonderful teacher, coming up with examples that clarify the complexities of the mingled plant communities of central Italy. We are thoroughly charmed.