Franca and Tonino have a garden in the lagoon. Of course they also have a house, but that is completely irrelevant: what can you do in a house except cook and sleep? In a garden however, ah, in a garden, that's where you live!
There is only disagreement about what this garden should be like: Tonino, who comes from the fertile plain of Puglia, has very clear ideas: In a garden you grow fruit, period. What else could it be?
Franca, on the other hand, the Venetian with the milk-white skin and the Titian-red hair, can only shake her head over such simplicity: A garden must be a sea of flowers, a riot of colours and scents. And if it isn't, ha, it's just a maledetto vegetable garden, per amor' di dio!
The battle for the garden has been fought for decades with the greatest possible passion, with the result that between slender, high-stemmed peach trees and those with cherries, plums and pomegranates there are incredible rose bushes, irises, freesias and all conceivable varieties of white flowers. The veranda is overgrown with jasmine and climbing roses, bougainvileas entwine themselves along the house wall and next to it stands a tall pine tree that creaks gently in the wind and gives us the shade we need in the heat of the lagoon.
I am sitting on the veranda, the sun has just set and paints red and gold circles on the wall of the house and on my face. Tonino impressed me with the expert cutting of a coconut, my fingers still smell tenderly of its firm flesh. Now he comes back to the table from one of his beloved trees, with two or three peaches in his hand.
"Guarda queste!" he shouts, "Look at them! Can you smell the scent! Ah, like roses and raspberries and a girl's skin!" He winks. Peaches, he explains, must be eaten while they are still warm from the sun. And that's just not possible, he explains emphatically, when you take them out of the fridge in a supermercato, ecco! The last sentence goes to Franca, of course, who comes onto the veranda with a tray full of almond confectionery and unloads it in front of me. I'm just cutting the peach, pink at the edges, white on the inside, sun-drenched, fragrant and incredibly delicious.
Franca rolls her eyes: "Madonnina mia, Tonino! Can't you see you're boring her! She's a woman, don't you understand that, you Apulian donkey driver? A woman, Tonino! She loves beautiful things Did you notice the roses, Cara? Do you like them? I'll make you a bouquet of them, you can take them home, the whole room will be fragrant, you'll see!"
Of course I noticed the roses. They're fragrant with the jasmine. And with the almond biscuits and the peach and the coconut. I nibble at the confectionery and listen to Tonino's flaming replica. From time to time, he calls on Our Lady's stock; when he moves, he exudes a very delicate, subtle musky scent: a discreet hint that Franca is a happy woman. The wind blows gently from the sea, wafts of jasmine fragrance over to me. The pine tree creaks softly, the crickets make a hell of a noise. I close my eyes and think to myself: if paradise should be any different, I'd rather ask Franco and Tonino. And I pray silently that this moment won't pass.
But that's exactly what he did. Twenty years lie between Franca, Tonino, the garden in the lagoon and me. Sometimes I think about them and where life takes us. And then a perfume show comes to my house. Black and gold, Borea likes it. I spray some of it on my wrist, close my eyes, breathe in the fragrance: a wave of sandalwood burns up, recedes, and behind it: A peach with the sun on it, a hint of coconut. The lovely sweetness of almond. And immediately afterwards: A wild rush of jasmine and roses and all kinds of flowers, powerful, warm, and I am back in the garden in the lagoon, listening to the two of them arguing comfortably, nibbling almond confectionery, enjoying the hint of musk. It is summer and I am back in paradise and I am allowed to stay You claim Paolo Terenzi created the fragrance. But of course that's nonsense I'm sure it comes straight from Franca and Tonino.