Our day wasn't yet over after the huge birthday meal. We were all invited to Volter's best friend's house high up in the hills above Imperia. The car climbed higher and higher as we followed single-lane roads surrounded by olive trees, and finally along a gravel track to reach the house.
Sitting around a large outdoor table surrounded by huge pots filled with a rainbow of orchids, and overlooking an olive grove, we became acquainted with our new friends Salvo and his wife. They built the house and love living up here surrounded by Salvo's 65 olive trees and 45 fruit trees and his wife's magnificent garden with its orchids and rose bushes.
Immediately glasses were filled with Salvo's wine, and hand-picked olives that had been soaked in brine were placed on the table. Visiting people like this is my favourite thing to do in Italy. Even though we had just eaten we had to try some of Salvo's home made salami. What a beautiful, tranquil spot.
The terrace was level with the kitchen and living-dining room decorated in Provencal colours. Everything had been built with much love. We were asked back later in the week for pizza made in the outdoor wood-burning oven but sadly we would be gone by then. Next time.
Now it was time for the Italian good-byes. The first good-bye was upstairs on the deck with many kisses. Then we moved downstairs to the car, where there were more kisses and a break to visit Salvo's cantina, which was filled with steel vats of olive oil, wine, bottled fruits and veggies from the garden and the wonderful hanging salamis. After a promise to come for pizza next time we were in Liguria, and more kisses, it was time for the final good-bye. We can't wait to return.