[Initially posted on 5.30.17] Tatiana and I are staying in a stone cottage on a wine farm called Azienda Agricola Caparsa (47 Via Caparsa), near Radda in Chianti. (Luca Guadagnino says there are so many English who live or rent in this region that some call it “Chiantishire.”)

The owner, Paolo Cianferoni, is a dead ringer for Steven Spielberg if you take away the beard, and de-age Spielberg by ten years.

Paolo told me yesterday that original Sideways author Rex Pickett stayed here some years back. So between Pickett, Spielberg and myself the place has a definite Hollywood aroma.

Paolo’s electric bolt fence is more or less dead center in this photo. You can’t see it all that clearly, I realize, but does that matter? It’s there, okay? I’m telling you.

I told Paolo that Tatiana and I were planning to hike over to Radda in Chianti, and so he pointed to a shortcut path through his vineyard. He then pointed to a metal gate at the top of a far-off incline. The gate was electrified, he said, to keep out deer and whatnot, but I just needed to open it carefully and watch where I step.

So we got to the gate and I delicately opened it — no shock. Thinking I was in the clear, I stepped through and, being a bit sweaty and breath-starved, missed the fact that a thick, coiled, half-camoflauged wire was lying in the dirt three or four inches from the gate. My ankles touched it and a split second later I was James Cagney at the end of Angels With Dirty Faces. My body convulsed. I felt as if my kidneys had been punched by a guy with brass knuckles. The electric current was mild (i.e., high enough to dissuade animals without killing them), but it definitely rocked my attitude.

For a while there I felt like (a) a huge dumbass.  I actually still feel this way.

(l.) Caparsa vineyard owner Paolo Cinaferoni; (r.) Steven Spielberg.