When I first went by the villa, I didn’t think it was a villa. I thought it was an Egyptian tomb.
I was riding my bike with a bunch of friends at night, and I said, “Hey, did you see the mummy?” They thought I was crazy. I noted the location so I could investigate further in the daytime.
So I went back on Sunday afternoon. I was in the right place according to my notes, but it didn’t look familiar. I was no longer in Egypt, but far across the Mediterranean Sea where grapes grew and ladybugs bugged and butterflies floated drunkenly in the warm, dry sky.
I guess I wound up taking a lot of pictures, because after a while a man came out of the villa and greeted me. He told me about the work he had done on the house, the origins of the various statues and stonework, and the painter who had made the mural that wrapped around the house. And then he took me inside the house. It was amazing. Peacock feathers and art deco lamps and the mural extending throughout the house, and… the tower! He had a tower with a spiral staircase going up to the top.
I would have taken photos inside the house but I got a little overwhelmed, and I also think I caught the man’s wife in the house by surprise. “It’s okay,” he kept saying as she would disappear into a different room. “I’m just showing her the house.” He assured me that she loved showing off the house.
When we were outside, he showed me my favorite part of the house, more favorite than the Egyptian sarcophagus or the cool stone walkway or the tower that I would spend entirely too much time in if I lived in that house. My favorite part of the house is the mural on the side that includes a depiction of the house itself.