Maybe the fresh clipped lavender on that beautiful Saturday morning that I had placed deep inside my backpack instigated the bees. Comically, all day our family swatted away the busy pests that were incessantly following us from place to place. I had forgotten about the clipped lavender, even though the subtle fragrance emanated everywhere we went that day. Nevertheless, a bee in pursuit eventually stung my husband. While the initial reaction seemed mild, that same day, it became very inflamed. By Sunday, his wrist had doubled in size and we began to search for an antihistamine.
We were staying in Gaiole in Chianti at an incredibly beautiful hotel called Castello di Spaltenna, an ancient medieval castle and hamlet dating back to 1030. The hotel is positioned on a hill just above the town of Gaiole and is surrounded by vineyards. The hotel was in close enough proximity that we were able to walk down into the town that night for dinner. Initially we had thought that we would meander around the small town in search of a pharmacy, and then have dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in the town called Lo Sfizio di Bianchi for our favorite dish, black truffled ravioli. We walked around the town and quickly realized that there weren’t many places open on Sunday with exception of a few restaurants and a wine bar. I entered the wine bar and began trying to communicate our dilemma. I didn’t speak any Italian at the time except, dov’é il bagno, (“where is the bathroom?”) so I began my declaration process by pointing at my wrist while making buzzing sounds with intermittent stops to imitate the bee. I’m sure it must have been hilarious to the onlooker. The bartender shook his head, no, indicating that he could not help me. Frustrated, I ordered two glasses of Chianti and decided to give up the charades. We sat just outside of the bar and shortly after, we watched the bartender grab his bag, disappearing up the narrow cobblestone street.
Beginning to unwind from a fun day in Chianti, we sipped our wine awaiting the restaurant to open. In the distance we watched the bartender walking back to the wine bar, but this time with a woman dressed professionally, carrying a bag and a big set of keys. She approached us and in perfect English introduced herself as the town’s pharmacist. With a bright smile and gentle demeanor, the bartender gestured good-bye, “Ciao”. The pharmacist motioned for us to follow her around the corner, where she opened the store, and retrieved an antihistamine for my husband.
In rural areas of Italy, we've experienced so many things that we have never experienced in the U.S. This was just an example of how beautiful small towns can be. The beauty of a bee sting represents everything we love about Italy.