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  • Writer's pictureAlex Subrizi

A longed-for subtraction... and reunion

For some years, well before I took over the day-to-day management of Poggiosole in 2021, the thick aerial telephone line crossing our inner olive grove and pool area has been in my cross hairs, along with the two 7 meter-tall fiberglass poles supporting it (each made uglier by a pair of tension cables).

These would be an eyesore anywhere on the property, but placed directly behind our swimming pool's sunbathing area on the southern end and in front of Le Rose's terracotta patio on the northern end, they've been, IMHO, straight-up hideous.

Obviously, even with access to a digger, you can't just wake up one morning, follow your impulse (mine anyway) and start ripping this stuff up. For one thing, it's all very large. For another, it's there for a reason: voice and data transmission, and not just to our

property. And, finally, it belongs to the phone company 😬! If you want it removed, there's an extended bureaucratic procedure to follow, which runs parallel to the process of preparing the physical infrastructure to re-route the lines below ground. When all that is done, you pre-pay for Telecom Italia's subcontractors to take down the aerial line and run an equivalent through your new underground conduits. Then, having sent the payment, you wait ...30, 60, 90... exactly 131 days in our case, for two different subcontractors to splice and run below-ground cables, then take down the entire aerial kit, including the offending poles.

Today was that day.

To mark this happy occasion, the young fig tree to the left of the digger in the above video, which had been patiently sitting in a large plastic vase next to the southernmost pole since last winter, was planted in its place.

Much better! And, as a happy coincidence, a long-planned reunion of old friends and family is taking shape this week and next. Jay Tompt, my co-conspirator in a first attempt, earlier this year, to competently prune the olive trees in our inner grove, is returning from the UK, as promised, this time together with life partner (and one of my oldest friends) Jane, to harvest the olives from those same trees... as well as to claim his deferred compensation of several liters of bright green fresh-pressed oil. Joining my friends Jane and Jay will be David and Kim, philosopher-scholars from Ithaca, New York with two teenage daughters in tow. My 20-year-old son Elio, currently studying physics at the University of Florence and my florentine goldsmith cousin Maurizio, linked to the rest of this crew by a trip to the US West Coast 24 years ago, will be present for the harvest as well. All of us share a connection from a period in the late 90s / early 2000s when we lived or worked together in San Francisco, California (okay, Maurizio was just visiting). The following week my eldest, Tekla, 22, a native San Franciscan who spent many of her earliest days with Jane and Jay's daughter Georgia in the Russian Hill building she and Elio were born in, will visit from Brussels, where she is completing a fine arts degree in sculpture. Although Tekla will miss Jane and Jay by just a couple of days, she'll be welcomed by a clutch of close relations visiting from the Piedmont region of Italy: two of my late father's nieces (my dear first cousins) Daniela and Roberta, along with their spouses and grown children. Topped of course by my ever-present youngest boys Max (6 years old) and Sam (4) and current life partner Giovanna.

Quite the shindig. And, finally, no poles to clutter the skyline, no tension cables to trip us up as we work and weave through Poggiosole's inner grove, and a new fig tree to keep everyone company.

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