From In A Tuscan Garden, published anonymously 1902
I employed a very good decorator, and the house was stencilled throughout in artistic designs, copied from old Italian brocades. Although I had a fair knowledge of Italian, my vocabulary naturally did not include such technical terms as the work-people often had occasion to use, and how the whole thing was accomplished remains a surprise to me to this day. The next step was to have a good stipettajo (a superior carpenter) to repair and put in order all the old furniture left in the house. This work occupied about six weeks; the Junior Partner joined me in December, and about Christmas such furniture as I had stored in London arrived. It was only the surplus which our little London house could not accommodate, after our old home was broken up, and many of our possessions were ludicrously out of keeping with their new abode.
There was one beautiful old marquetry bureau we called our letter of credit, as it made such an impression on every foreigner who had occasion to call, and quite established our character for respectability.
In all the subsequent winters we have spent here, I have never seen so beautiful a spell of weather as there was that year. In November the rains came down in quite tropical fashion, but after that we had from eight to ten weeks of clear, brilliant sunshine, from ten a.m to four p.m. When the sun went down the cold was intense, and of course we had not then reached the stage of peace and comfort that came in after years, and which only long occupation of a house can give. Our one family male adviser had carefully impressed upon us, in his letters, the advisability of having a formal contract of our tenancy drawn up by an Italian lawyer. There was a good deal of wrangling over conditions, but I believed everything to be straight and in order, so it was a terrible shock when we discovered that, because no mention had been made in this document of the stanzone, it was not included in the let, but was to remain, as it had always been, in the hands of the villa gardeners.
These worthies were our sworn foes; they had always had possession of the sunny court-yard, with its convenient stone benches for forcing their early bulbs, and were deeply aggrieved at the new order of things. The annoyance that we suffered at their hands in the next two years, is not to be described. In winter they came about ten a.m. to open the doors of the stanzone, and again in the afternoon at four to close them.