Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 11, 2013

Sisto, the music man of Vergemoli

We had a gorgeous fine, sunny day today at Casa Debbio, so my friend and I went for a walk through gorgeous Vergemoli.

We walked past ripening cherries.


And growing figs.


Yellow flowers with bees.


Past the outdoor amphitheatre with the huge chestnut trees shading the stage.


Down past the cemetery.


And down the road to the old mill that I had heard about.


I called out Buongiorno, and Sisto came out of his workshop and greeted us warmly. Sisto was born and has lived all his life in the most amazing house beside a water wheel. He works with wood and his machinery is still driven with water power. He was much too shy to be photographed, but he did allow me to take photos of his house.






This is his view.


He took us through a tunnel to the water wheel. The original wheel was made of wood, but it has been replaced with a metal one.




He has a water fall which ends in a rock pool where children like to swim in summer.


Did you happen to notice the speakers under the eaves of the roof?


There are about 100 of them and when the mood takes him, Sisto likes to play classical, tango or accordion music. I can hear it at Casa Debbio and I love it. When our house was being built I would often watch the builders laying bricks and stones to a tango beat.

I told Sisto that I thought his house was wonderful and that I would be happy to listen to his music whenever he felt like playing it. I wish he had let me take his photo. He is a delightful, charming and very attractive old man.

His cat saw us out.


Later in the day we drove to Trassilico, the village we look at from Casa Debbio.


As we walked to the top of the village to the old fort high above Trassilico, we could hear snatches of music when there was a gap between the houses. From the fort we could clearly see Vergemoli and Sisto’s house, and his music was coming loud and clear across the valley.


It was quite hazy by then, so the photo is not clear, but you can see Vergemoli on the top of its mountain and Sisto’s house to the right.

My friend got a bit carried away and tried a little conducting.


I think this could only happen in Italy…how could you not love it?


  1. Great Photos!

  2. What an incredible day! Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • I have been listening to Sisto’s music for ages now. It was wonderful to finally meet him.

  3. I did notice the speakers and was wondering why on earth so many. The rows are like decorations. What a great story!

    • I wonder what inspired him to do this. He seems to live alone there.

  4. Another aahhhh Italy moment. Thank you….

    • There are so many hidden treasures here.

  5. Sisto sounds like a lovely man. I bet he has many interesting stories to tell. I’d love to hear his music play across the valley. Quite a difference from NYC where I hear mostly car traffic. 🙂

  6. I enjoyed the “stroll” with you to Sisto’s home. That’s the beauty of walking – one discovers characters and the particular culture of villages along the way. Friendships form as a result. What an idyllic life for Sisto living his days in peace and happiness. Love the cherries, ripening figs and the bee on the happy yellow flower. Your pictures are a delight, Debra!

    • I expected Sisto to be a bit of a recluse, but he was very friendly.

  7. Beautiful as always Debra! 🙂

    • Sisto’s little bit of Italy is wonderful.

  8. I’m dead serious when I say the Italians really know how to live. Truly live. What a special place. What special people.

    • The people who live in Vergemoli seems to have it all worked out. The village is gorgeous and they all seem to happily work together to make the village a happy place to live.

  9. what a beautiful part of the world

    • Vergemoli is beautiful…even more so since we finally have some sun.

  10. What a wonderful picture series on Italy Debra! It makes me want to visit again 🙂

    • You should come to our part of Italy.

  11. That was terrific! Nicely paced too, like a good walk should be. Love the serendipity of Sisto’s afternoon concert from across the valley – your visit must have put him in the mood 🙂

    • He hasn’t been playing music for a while, so perhaps we did inspire him. I love it when he plays his music.

  12. Try as I might, I don’t see what must be the only blue house in central Italy. You have the best neighbors! Sometimes I want to be you. I’m so glad you appreciate your seemingly idyllic life.

    • The house doesn’t look blue because the haze was quite heavy. I thought we were going to get a storm, we could hear thunder rumbling around us. The house is just to the right of the village. Casa Debbio is also in the picture, hidden in the trees. I do appreciate the life I have created. I don’t take it for granted. Of course there are frustrations, but I don’t talk about those on the blog.

  13. Funny…we just returned from a Panama Canal cruise. On a port of call in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, we visited a wood shop in an artisan village where they still make handmade ox carts (of all sizes) beautifully painted by hand. That wood shop still uses water wheel to drive all their woodworking machinery! Its like taking a step back in time to the beginning of the industrial revolution – belts and rotating shafts all over the place.

    • Sisto’s place is incredible. I wonder what will happen to it when he has gone.

  14. I love love love the picture of the waterfall. Fabulous post.

    • Sisto has his own little world down there in the valley.

  15. How old do you think sisto is?

    • I can’t tell and the villagers don’t know. He has grandchildren, but he has the face of a young man. At a guess I would say he is in his 70s

  16. Just magic

  17. Wow … what a view … and personal joy!

    • Casa Debbio has a similar view, from a different angle. It is spectacular here.

  18. There is something totally enchanting about living close by water especially if you have a view like Sisto’s. I hope everybody likes the music!

    • I think everyone is happy to hear the music. It really does suit the location.

  19. This is all so beautiful. That view of the town clinging to the mountainside is amazing. How does everyone else respond to his music? Is it well received by everyone? I hope so. Loved taking a walk with you. Especially as I didn’t have time for one myself today. Thanks so much.

    • Everyone I have spoken to likes Sisto’s music. I found out today that when someone in the village dies, he doesn’t play music for one month, which explains why I haven’t heard it for a while.

  20. It is absolutely beautiful!

    • The whole village is gorgeous.

  21. Oh I wish you had a photo of him too! What a stunning house to live in and the water wheel is what stories are made out of Debra. Love it all.

    • I wish he had let me take his photo too, he is lovely.

  22. What a lovely day! Is that your friend that I met last year? Was her name Patricia?

    • Yes, that is the Patricia you met last year. We are a Casa Debbio enjoying a lovely sunny day.

  23. […] Click here to see the post about Sisto and his music. […]

  24. […] was my last day at the house and it was a perfect end to my stay. The weather was delightful and Sisto turned on his music for my final dinner on the terrace. Fireflies arrived a bit later and I went to […]

  25. What a lovely house and a great post as always Debra 🙂

    • Sisto is my neighbour. We have people staying at Casa Debbio now, and they heard his music coming up the hill last night. I love it when Sisto plays his music.

  26. I think Sisto’s music must be the perfect accompaniment to the lovely spot that is Casa Debbio.

  27. […] Here is a post I wrote about him some time ago. Sisto, the music man of Vergemoli […]

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