In April 2008 a gentleman called on us at Ripertoli with a CD of aerial photographs taken the previous September. I recognised him – he had made the same call 15 years ago – but the new photos were much better, being digital, and showed the improvements we have made over the years. So we bought them – including 1000 postcards of one photo, which are free to Ripertoli visitors. Here are 4 of the best, to give you an idea of Ripertoli’s situation.
Photos taken from above are very cruel to the look of the ground, which seems much less well-covered with grass than it is when you are standing there. The olive grove to the right of house in the first picture has been sown with grass and is now a very pleasant walking surface. And it’s a pity that the pool had its winter cover on – it prevents you seeing the simple but charming tile pattern on the bottom of the pool. In 2015 we installed an all-season electric pool cover – safer & easier to operate – but it’s not visible in these pictures.
This is taken from North of the house. From bottom to top it shows the steep hillside with its terraced olive groves, the back of the house with the two cottages above it and to its left, the pool with its winter cover to the right, and above that the access track running through the vineyard in the upper right quadrant. The hills at the top and to the left are in the direction of Panzano. Count the neighbours – none !
This is taken from the West. The steep hillside behind the house is to the left of the picture. This time you can see a neighbour – a farm called Le Gialle, on the opposite side of the valley behind the house, and in the top left of the picture you can see the next farm (Colognole) in the chain of signalling towers. The solar panels which heat the pool are clearly visible (though not from the house); their rear is now covered with climbing plants so they look attractive from the poolside.
Again taken from the West, showing the main house, the middle capanna and the aia capanna from left to right. The square area in front of the aia capanna is the old threshing floor, made of large stones with grass growing in the cracks. The wooden gazebo at the bottom left by the pool is much nicer than the view of its roof suggests. The backs of the solar panels are covered with flowering climbers and evergreens on a trellis, so that they look OK from the pool. Our designer has added the sunbeds to make the pool look more like it would in the summer, but they aren’t usually as neatly arranged. We do have 16 of them. The blue pool cover on a roller at the far end of the pool was replaced by an automatic cover in a wooden case in 2015 – much safer for children.
Taken from the East, this shows the rear of the house and two cottages. The white Carrara marble table on the terrace at the back of the house is much less stark than the picture implies. The slope downhill from the terrace is very steep, as you can deduce from the stone steps below and to the left of the terrace; this helps provide both magnificent views from the terrace and perfect privacy and seclusion. The stony ground at the top centre was a consequence of burying the electricity cables earlier in 2007 – it is much greener now.
The two stone walls in the upper-right quadrant were completely repaired in 2007; you can see the bits of new stonework, but they have already weathered in. We are gradually working our way down the hillside; estimated completion date 2025!