The four-legged friends of La Casa di Ulisse B&B are now a German Shepherd 6 to 7 years old, Mec, and a cat, Ombra.
They are part of our family, know our habits and how to recognize our mood by the tone of voice.
But our little ark includes other animals that have chosen La Casa di Ulisse b&b or our garden as a principal residence.
There are many families of geckos: those who we know best live around the roof, and in the summer go out on the terrace and look curious at us.
Others live among the stones of the garden walls, they are left out in the sun and as you approach run into hiding, slipping between the cracks.
There is also a toad, and in winter it builds the nest by choosing the pots with the land softer and moist. A bulge tells us that it is there, protected. Other times you see it on the pavement, without waiting for nothing disturbs him: Mec sniffs it and then retracts, amazed by toad body temperature.
And then the squirrel. A branch swinging in the wind and its tail appears leaping from tree to tree. In the autumn, before hibernation, he leaves fall to the gnawed ground pine cones.
Magpies and turtledoves are permanent residents. They walk on the grass pecking seeds and born on nests around the house. The magpies perch on top of the oaks, motionless until something attracts them and calling out to share a roof or to other branches. The cooing of doves is our awakening from spring to autumn.
The other birds come to look for beans in our garden or for a break in their wanderings from the woods Livorno hills, which begin in less than a hundred meters: warblers, orioles, sparrows, blackbirds. They move solitary, in pairs, in a rush to return to the nests waiting for them, slow or curious. There is also an owl, which occasionally approaches: the sound of his voice, now closer now further away in the night, draws his invisible flight.