My friendly guide to Italian wines

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I am extremely proud to share with you my new book (my first e-book). It is in Italian, I tell stories of wonderful people making wonderful wines, in Abruzzo and other regions, and I explain a few technicalities on wine-making and wine-tasting.

Since October we organized several lessons, our Friendly wine-tastings to enjoy together all the flavours and hues I try to describe in the book, but you better taste yourself.

My motto is that life is too short to drink bad wine, and if you know how to “read” what a wine can tell you on how it was made, you can enjoy it better. Good wine, good company, good food and moderation  are my ideal recipe to enjoy life.

As soon (read: next year) as I can go back to our house in Abruzzo I am planning to get some work done on the family wine-museum my mom is dreaming about: with underground cellars on three levels and a natural cave in between, I am sure we can find the right space for all the vintage wine-making tools my great-grandparents used there.

Hope to see you there.

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Fontecchio, a quick tour through the old city

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Fontecchio is a larger village on the Aterno Valley and I just love the feel it gives, even just walking around a bit.

One of the nice things to do is to stay for a while and renting you own room or apartment in one of the renovated buildings. The surroundings are beautiful and Alessio, who owns the B&B, is an expert in Landscape reading, which is quite a different thing from tarot reading, and one you should absolutely try to learn in a tour with him (I wonder if he stills organizes these tours, he did before).

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In the picture above you see and old communal oven-building. Once or twice a week the oven would be fired and everybody would bring their home-made bread to bake. It was a social gathering where, while you waited for your baking-goods to get ready, you could talk, know who was pregnant, how other people’s kids were doing, get informed on current news in general.

Now it has been renovated and upstairs they have a dining room people in the village uses for parties of all sort. I know because I informed about using it for my cooking courses in Abruzzo.IMG_5552

Fontecchio is called like this because of the peculiar fountain you see just outside the walled medieval center of the village.IMG_5554

Next to the fountain  this frescoe-ed Madonna. But it was usual at the time, in all of these villages, to have some holy-image in places where many people would pass by, for a quick prayer while attending their own business. Just like the placing of billboards along a highway nowadays. Location is key.

And that’s why the fountain, just like the oven, was a perfect place for these images or iconicelle,, as the whole village would go there sooner or later, to drink, have animals drink, doing the laundry, or get water for home. Women in Abruzzo would carry water by using a copper conca, a vessel with two handles on the side they carried by balancing it on their heads.  IMG_5557 IMG_5559

Here the tower to get through the city walls, the Porta dei Santi or the Saints’ Gate. IMG_5561

A great place to have another of these iconicelle, holy images, is the archway under the tower. You can see they repainted it a number of times and the face of the Virgin is absolutely ugly, but the composition betrays the hand of a master.IMG_5569 IMG_5570

Another place I love in Fontecchio are the remnants of this church, where only the walls and the altars are left, the roof is totally gone.IMG_5578

And in case you fell in love with the place, they are selling a tiny studio here.IMG_5580

Pity we came on such a rainy day, my children were absolutely miserable and annoyed, and this, together with the rain, made it a very short walk.

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This door is quite peculiar, in L’Aquila behind Piazza Duomo there are a whole series, called Le Cancelle. They are the workshops of medieval artisans, each a member of his own Guild. One part of the door was to get in, the shorter part would have on the inside a working surface, so that the artisan or artist could have the best light from outside. IMG_5588

And how do you find these old doors? I love their weathered texture and just see what a beautiful wood they used for them.

So i hope I managed to show you a bit more of my beloved Abruzzo, and in the next post I am going to show a suburb of Fontecchio with a link to someone renting renovated houses, in case you decided you cannot miss it next time you are in the area.

In Fontecchio itself you should absolutely stay at the Torre del Cornone. go, see their websites and book.

I especially love the tower they transformed into a living unit. All around the walls you will see all holes: the tower was part of a communication system along the Aterno valley, where they used these towers to send light signals over large distances.

Pedicciano, 30 years later

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(please note the stone rings on the wall, to tie horses and donkeys)

Pedicciano is a tiny village on the Aterno-valley and belongs to the city Fontecchio, with more interesting monuments and buildings whose pictures you will see in a next post. It is the village of my Aunt Vittoria’s husband, zio Ginetto.

Zio Ginetto’s father tried to get him baptized as Lucifero, just to annoy the priest of the village, who refused. Then he chose to call him luigi, just like a rich, childless uncle, as everybody was saying that: “Call the kid Luigi, so his uncle will remember him in his will”, and the father just hated everybody minding his business, but in the end complied.

But at the city hall he could choose, so he registered his son under the names of Lucifero Luigi. Which everybody called Ginetto, except people in the village using his family-title of Don. He was just Don Gino, as everybody owning ground since a few generation was called Don or Donna.

I have spent many a family-holidays or Grandma-Auntie visits there when I was a child, and I believe I have been there for the last time some 25 years ago, popping by my Auntis’ home on a summer day with my DAF-car and a dog for company.

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Said dog was put, much to his protests, on the beautiful double terrace I regret I cannot show you, and was barking his disappointment for being left on his own with lots of energy until my Aunt Antonella called him from the kitchen: “You shut up” without even raising her voice.

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I was so surprised it worked, as I never managed the trick to shut up any of my dogs.

“When I use that tone I can bring to silence 25 kids, you know”, said Antonella, and then I remembered she was a teacher.

Back then I was studying at the Pedagogic Faculty of L’Aquila  and this episode reinforced my belief that I would never, ever, be a teacher. how would I keep order in a class of kids if even my dogs ignored my instructions?

(Which somehow proved right and somehow proved wrong in the years to follow, but this is another story. I never became a school-teacher but I started my own language-school and I spent many years teaching adults. And I learned that tone too. But never had dogs since).IMG_5530

As a kid I used to play a lot in the alleys of Pedicciano, alone or with a bunch of cousins. I remember a Christmas holiday spent playing bingo in the large, rustic kitchen on the ground floor, which due to the hilly nature of the site was on a lower ground floor than the main entrance, the one with the family coat of arms sculpted in stone above the main door you see under.

We played Bingo, which is actually Tombola  only around Christmas and used to cover the called numbers with beans, so every now and then, someone shaking the table would mess with the results and we had to check all called numbers again.IMG_5532

We kids would get bored and after finding a closet full of vintage nightgowns, we would dress up and run on the streets.

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So last week we were driving with a bunch of visiting friends to Fontecchio and on an impulse I took a turn, parked the car and went for a walk with my friend Polly. IMG_5533

After the earthquake of 2009 all of these villages of my childhood lost a number of indications I used to find my way: towers and houses fell down, streets were blocked, people disappeared. So I called on a lady to ask if she knew how to get to the Consalvi House. (Which is the one  you can see in the picture under, with coats of arms and everything, and this abandoned air that breaks my heart).IMG_5534

“Who are you?” she asked.

“The grandchild of one of the sisters of Donna Vittoria, I used to come here as a child, but cannot quite recognize the place”.

“The sister from Ofena?”

“Yes”.

Which is the sort of thing that never ceases to bring a smile on my face for two reasons.

The first is because we are really a region of clans, and wherever you go you should keep your genealogy ready, to name it and check if you are not, by any chance, related to the stranger you just met.

The second because of all of the nine  Silvestrone girls, the one always traveling around, visiting everybody, making new acquaintances with the ease she breathed and always leaving a good impression behind, was my grandmother.

I wonder why I am just the same.IMG_5538

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Polly has never been there before and was impressed by the ruins. Sometimes you need to explain that many of the houses as in such a bad shape since much before the earthquake. They were abandoned by all the people emigrating, and the families that moved to the Americas often never came back, and their homes were just left there. With a comb on the dressoir, a glass on the table and clothes in the closets. Then one winter it snowed a bit harder, the roofs broke, the walls stayed and in due time you would find trees growing inside the houses.IMG_5541

But at the end of our quick walk we noticed some repaired houses that make a nice contrast with the ruins next door.IMG_5543

And this is a good sign, because something is moving, something is getting rebuild, some life is getting back.IMG_5545

And less trees will get a chance to grow within four walls.IMG_5547

Lazy Summer days in the Plains of Navelli

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Getting to the villages of the plain by public transport requires some thoughtful logistic planning. This time we flew to Rome Ciampino, something I usually try to avoid unless someone is picking us up by car, but it was cheaper to fly, so what, we would arrive at 4 pm and I should be able to live with that and manage somehow to move further.

Which is correct until L’Aquila but not for the last stretch of our trip, getting to the village. The last bus leaving LAquila and actually stopping in the villages around the Plains themselves, and not just on the main road Statale 17 leaves the Bus terminal at 6.45 pm. So you get out of Ciampino Airport which is not blessed with a handy train station like Fiumicino, you take whatever taxi, bus to Ciampino rail station (here the timetables of the trains), you reach somehow bus station Tiburtina and get a bus of Arpa (see here) and all of this will never get you on time in L’Aquila to catch the last local bus to San Benedetto in Perillis at platform 24 at 6:45.

So you accept gratefully the invitation of your friend to sleep in Rome, get the kids stuffed with pizza, get a great girl’s night out, literally, sitting and sweating on the balcony, because you accidentally arrived in the midst of the hottest heat-wave of summer. Then you convince your kid to sleep alone in the bed generously offered by the kid of the house, instead of sticking to you like a bandaid because he cannot sleep and feels alone, get some minor disaster the day after in said friend’s house and spend the morning fixing it and then with 2 kids and 3 pieces of luggage forget about the plan to let them see at least the pillars in Saint Peter’s square and call it a day in Rome.

We even skipped the Maritozzaro near Trastevere Station (via Rolli 50, in case you are interested). The mythical maritozzaro all my friends and the taxi driver yesterday mention, making the last, real, sweet-rolls with cream. It was to hot for cream, I admit it.

At the end of the Roma-L’Aquila stretch we managed to take the bus from L’Aquila and drove through all the mountains and all the villages before we got to ours. At that point son Nr. 2 was shivering with fever, we somehow managed to air the house, fix some dinner thanks to canned beans, get him in bed, fish a paracetamol from the bottom of the purse, get him a good sweat and at 12 pm the kids were sleeping, my side of the bed was all sweated and I knew we were home.

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The day after I enjoyed my favorite view on the tower of Bominaco (the village we drove through yesterday on our way) while sitting in the crisp morning light outside the temporary living unit where my mom has been relocated to a couple of years ago. Because the main reason for me to plant my quarters 5 weeks alone with the kids here, in a village half destroyed, with no other kids, no shops, no bar, no post-office and just three buses driving though it a day, was only feasible without my mom around and with her car at my disposal.

My mom, as all aging moms, tends to follow, rightly, her rhythms and schedules, but as my kid told his teacher while choosing his place in the new class for next year “I’ve gotta work to do and cannot be distracted by a chatting mate”, I came because I’ve gotta work to do. Or so I thought before leaving.

Because the point is that in June, after 6 years, the reconstruction works of our house were supposed to begin and I wanted to be there to check where our stuff would be placed exactly in the garage we borrowed for it, what would they do with the windows and doors, dating earlier than my great-grandfather, that were to be replaced (but not forgotten in a container, god forbid) and in general make sure our home was in good hands.

But as we are the pilot-project under a new organization of the reconstruction, we were subjected to extra checks, extra opinions from several offices involved, extra controls, and now, Summer holidays considering, they might start in september. Maybe. Because this is how it works with big, public projects in Italy. We, the owners, have nothing to say, nothing to do, must keep our hands-off our houses and be grateful. Which we are, of course, but in these 6 years I wish they let me fix at least the leaking roof, and save a couple of rooms that are now covered with the most interesting mold sorts. Which I gratefully offer to Science, should be out there some biology graduate in search of a thesis-project.

This all leaves me with half a mission and two kids to entertain in the hot, quiet summer in the plains. (With no Internet, other kids, bars to puck up an ice cream etc. etc.) It builds character, I keep telling myself.

So the first morning I went to do some basic shopping, read a couple of books, took a nap because that’s what are lazy summers for, and then at 3 pm I woke up because by the time the sun has been shining the whole day on the shoe-box pre-fab house and the heat was becoming unbearable. Which reminded me why my mom fled to her sister in Poland for the Summer.

So off we went. To the lake of Sinizzo where I last swam in 1988 or something like that.

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And driving to the lake, we took a de-tour along Peltuinum, the ancient city on the sheep-route you can still see, trodden for millennia twice a year by sheep, dogs and shepherds moving from Abruzzo to Puglia and back.

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And then we went to the lake, to discover that the deep part near the parking lot was the domain of screaming, jumping, flirting, showing-off teens, while the low side, near the trees, was reserved for quiet adults and parents with young children. So I moved near the parents and my pre-teeners were swimming back and forth the two camps.

And there we swam, we explored, I read, they ate terrible chips from the vendor at the parking lot and figues, I messaged with my friend asking if she was coming with her kids of we would go to them, she messaged back she rented with a friend an umbrella at the beach at Montesilvano and to join them.

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So off we went to the sea for the weekend, and now I am figuring out on Google Maps how in the world I will be able to drive in Rome this afternoon, to run a couple of errands, see a couple of friends, buy a pair or more shoes at the Outlet in the outskirts of Rome and picking up my husband at the airport tonight. Without the kids driving me nuts in a car without air-conditioning. Because we fell for it again, cheap flights at impossible hours.  Luckily, tonight, we will drive back to the plains by car, with the sun down and a car at a controlled heat.

Because this whole idea of getting to Italy alone with two kids has the added advantage that I cannot leave them anywhere for half day while I drive to Rome to pick up their father. So we will have to do. And I am enjoying every second of it.

Beyond the quake: textiles, textures and general decay

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One of the “Catch 22” situations we got with the house since the start, that is to say after the first checks and classification post-earthquake, was that they classified it as inagibile. This means, in simple words, that nobody is authorized to get in there unless under supervision of a group of fireman, with helmets and all.

Six years after the earthquake of L’Aquila, after many visits, checks, controls, measurements, reconstruction is about to start. The house is still inagibile but some sort of informal acceptance has taken place there about getting in it with a permit or supervision whatsoever.

Some temporary protection has been set in the alleys to make sure the neighbors won’t get a stone falling on their head while walking to their home. This gave us all the feeling that, unless another earthquake would take place, the house will hold a bit more, so we felt reassured in entering it.

From a practical point of view it is virtually impossible to enforce the prohibition of entering damaged homes, and the local autorities somehow came to term with this. Don’t ask, don’t tell, sort of thing.

Because let’s be real, how’s about all the architects, engineers, builders working around them all these years to get the plans ready, approved and eventually financed? They did what they had to do, and if all these strangers can get in my home any time they please, why should I not be able to do the same? This is probably what the majority of homeowners in the area thought. And they acted consequently.

This meant also that after a couple of summers more life was to be detected in the alleys and in the damaged homes, as people used their holidays to go and check the situation, see friends and trying to do their best to protect what was left. We, for example, would get there, clean some dust, chase some spiders, get rid of all the plants growing on all the external walls, air the mattresses and the blankets, try to get some work done. Basically, we were trying to get back the feeling that our house was still our home. But without a deadline for the reconstruction we left with a feeling that everything was on hold. Our lives were on hold. Our plans for the future too.

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A couple of years later these visits had to stop: the checks and preliminary works got to the stage of breaking down plaster from the walls to see what sort of material was used to make it: and a whole lots of material was it: large masonry stones, smaller stones kept together by cement, sometime bricks to close a former doorway, different layers on a single wall, you name it, we had it.

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In every corner now there was a pile of debris, which created a thick layer of dust everywhere. This dust was not easy to clean, so we gave up. We would enter silently the house, as if we were visiting at a funeral, move something here and there, and then renounce, as the whole sight would make us sad and weak.

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I might have mentioned before that the biggest damage was made by water leaks: the shocks moved several rooftiles and since then rain is seeping trough the walls and in the upper rooms. Of course, in a normal damage situation, when you are not prohibited to enter the house, doing the repairs you can afford and get on with your life. Or just accept that there is nothing to do, that you cannot afford it and let it go (as if this was easier).

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But now it looks like the project has been completed, modified, reproved, additional documentation presented, all the steps, in short, depending on changing rules and scarcer budget, and priorities, and a better view of the general situation in the whole province. So we need to empty the house, pack all the stuff, find a storage, get some hope of change.

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And one of the things we did, since we got a couple of days of glorious May sun, was to hang all the textile outside, have it dry before packing it for the next couple of years, or whatever it will take before we could officially get back into our home. It was nice, somehow. Finding back a frilly dress of when I was 2 years old. Ancient embroideries, made thin by time and use. The traditional wool blankets woven with a double side with opposing colors. And too little time to remember, to enjoy the fact that after all the troubles of all of our lives, for generations, there were still objects we could relate to, that reminded us of times of gone by innocence.

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Textile was the first step. Than it started raining, so we moved to other work. I will post some of it the coming days. It was a murdering work, lots of emotions getting in the way. I noticed, not for the first time, that my mom cannot cope, emotionally,  with this all. She did huge work in the house to preserve it in the years before the quake, to make it clean and homey, to catalogue all the heritage it contained, that now she cannot so it anymore.

So for a few days we did it alone, and I left her in the temporary home so she could recover a bit. but on some days we really needed her to decide what to do with the paperwork of the old company.

“Oh, these are all the people owning me money. I wish I would get 1% of it all the last 30 years” she said, ponting at a cabinet full of files.

“Away with it. Leave only the papers of the court case against that crook”, I asked. Because I was a bit more than a kid at the time, but in a few years I am sure I will regain the space of mind to want to know in the details how come a hard working couple managed to lose all for borrowing money to the wrong person, at the wrong moment. A guy who was a friend, until then.

Oh, we sure filled a couple of paper containers last week, not to mention glass, plastic and general garbage. But it was worth all the effort.

“I am so happy you came to do this, I truly cannot decide what to throw away”, mom said.

I was too tired from all the boxes we filled, moved, transported, to decide if it was a relief for me too. But I am glad I did. I am glad my friend Fausto came to help. He feels exactly the same, but it is not his past what he had to sort and pack. And it was great to count on his expertise on antiquities and art.

“What do you think of this sketch? Is it art or do I throw it away?”

“Well, it is very nicely drawn, keep it. Is not Michelangelo, but has its own dignity”.

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“And how’s about this authentic, mid-century, baroque souvenir of Lourdes?”

“Are you even thinking of keeping it? Pure plastic”.

“Yes, but we are full of these birthday-gifts for my great aunt who was a nun”.

“Well, faith is a different thing”.

So I published it on Facebook and found a friend collecting these round Madonna’s, and faith justifies lots of wrong aesthetics anyway. I am glad she wants it.

Then I flew back home, and endured the worst headache of all times for a couple of days. But it will pass. Faith is helping.

San Benedetto in Perillis and the mistery of the wooden locks

In our Excursion to L’ Aquila along Highway 17 (btw. We are thinking of repeating it on August 4th and 5th 2012, and again in September, the 17th) we will go for an extensive visit to San Benedetto in Perillis.

Unique to this one small village between Popoli and Navelli, along the Svolte di Popoli, are the wooden locks and keys. The only other place in the world where they use similar locks are in subSaharian Africa, for example in Sudan. How did the locks get here? What it is their taboo? Why people feel unconfortable when opening them? How does the system work? Did you know they were the prototype for the principle of modern keys, patented by Yale?

Just to give you a look and something to consider while watching the beautiful pics in this video. See you at one of the excursions. For information please write at: barbara@madrelingua.com.

Urban Knitting at L’ Aquila for the third anniversary of the earthquake

Animammersa is a cultural group started by a number of artists in L’ Aquila in order to communicate what’s going on in the city (you might not be aware of this, but there is a huge difference between the perception of people outside the city, informed by national media, and what is really going on. See also the recent visit of Prime Minister Monti, only after he saw with his very eyes what’s going, some regular media started talking about this).

Animammersa produced  theatre shows and a video, and now they came up with a brilliant idea. Mettiamoci una pezza is an urban knitting session for the third anniversary of the earthquake, as only in these circumstances there is a bit of attention to the historical centre were no reconstruction has taken place yet.

So they send out a call for “pezze”, knitted of crocheted squares they want to use to cheer a bit the centre. Without people, is their starting assumption, the whole city is grey. Let’s bring some colour back to it.

People inside and outside Abruzzo reacted enthusiastically. What you see above is a square made by my friend Bianca Mollicone, a passionate woman who onws the beatiful Locanda al Ponte in Balsorano. She is very dedicated to all things about Abruzzo and managed to bring to l’ Aquila the famous journalist Paolo Rumiz, who is know in Italy for travel-reportages on abandoned and forlorn places.

Other squares were collectively made by the ladies amployed at the State Archive. When a colleague asked them for rests of wool and other skeins, and they asked why and heard the story, the got so enthusiastic that they started to knit and made a beautiful patchwork.

I believe this is the whole point of the action. Involve people., give them a sense of doing something for theh city they love. The exact contrary is the mistake made after the earthquake: bringing people away, take all power of doing from their hands (a history of the laws made to stop you from doing anything to help reads like Kafka).

If you can and want to join the urban knitting at L’ Aquila, go there on the 6th of April, my guess is there will be someone in piazza Duomo able to give you further indications. And if you want to make beforehand some squares, the standard sizes are: 50×50 cm. or 20×20.

Credits: I took all pictures from the official website of Mettiamoci una pezza, exceot the red one Bianca made, I got it through her. The Virtual knitting art is made by Donatella Giagnacovo, an artist from L’ Aquila, please check her website for more about her work.

Heritage trip to l’ Aquila on 14 or 16 September 2012


Just a small introduction for those who do not know of our pic-nic on 15 September 2012. It started with the Ofenesi Google group. Or maybe with the Ofena and Carrufo genealogy that Ron posted on the net. Or maybe better, with the annual Abruzzo pic-nic in Vancouver.

Anyway, after a couple of years of discussing the idea, the decision was taken: next pic nic will be in Abruzzo. And so it will be at the end of this summer.

For many descendants of people from Ofena and Carrufo this will be their first Italy trip. Of course they want to see Rome and more famous places. But we thought they might also like to know and see with their very eyes whom we are, and were we come from. I designed this excursion exactly for this. Now, you might ask, how do I qualify for this all? Well, I grew up in Ofena, my Auntie Filomena della Pulita has been a teacher there for 50 years (chances are your (grand) parents were in her classes) and she brought me up with everything about Ofena, I studied at the University of L’ Aquila – then moved to the Netherlands), I wrote a book on the area around Highway 17 (more on this in a moment), I organized in the course of the years many trips and cooking courses for Dutchies in Abruzzo. I write regularly Italian culinary articles for a Dutch magazine specializing on Italy   (but shh, don’t tell them that either way I always end up talking of Abruzzo in those articles. Though, I think they sorta figured out in the course of the years).

(digression: That part on whom we are and where we came from, is from my publisher: when at the first anniversary of the earthquake in L’ Aquila I was being intervied for Fahrenheit, the largest radio-program on books in Italy, I had the strangest experiences. First of all it was the first time I dared to go back to L’ Aquila again after the earthquake only because as a starting author you don’ t say “no” to Farhenheit. even if you live in the Netherlands and have to fly back at your own cost in three days, because it is Easter and we are due to my mother in law.

Anyway, after the interview, during which I had to put on my sunglasses, as I was high on the stage, and telling of the time I used to live there, and then looked at all the buildings around the square all kept up by iron bars and it was just too much (I once brest fed my first-born behind one of these windows, that was it). As we were finished and I went off stage a gentlemen came to me and said just:

“I am from Villa”. Which is Villa Santa Lucia, a village above Ofena.

“And I am the daughter of Ennio Summa”  because we people of the villages around Highway 17 are a clan, don’t mistake us on this, or otherwise why so many people are making plans and arrangements to attend a pic-nic on the other side of the Ocean, so when we meet each other we start with genealogy.

“I know, he used to teach me at junior high”. And that was it.

“You met Luigi” told me a couple of years later Francesco “Barbone”, the plumber of Villa and a dear family friend. You know, the clan. They know whom you met and what you talked about.

Then an unknown lady came to me saying that her cousin in Rome loved my booked and wondered if I would mind talking to her on the phone. Sure. She gave me her phone, I introduced myself and the lady on the other side started crying. And then told me that after the earthquake she lost all sense of belonging, of home, and that reading my book was so wonderful to her because it brought all back to proportions. I heard that comment often about my book and I was truly intrigued.

Then I saw Maura, my publisher and  more than that. ” Maura, for heavens’ sake, what did I write in that book that makes people telling me those things?”

“You just reminded them whom they are and where they are from”.

Right. I guess I needed badly to remind myself in the first place. end digression)

This excursion has already been made and tried for you. In October 2011 it took us three days to cover the route I wanted to show you, but as I understand you might want to see Rome, and meet relatives and do tons of things and you might run short of time, I compressed it in one day. Don’t thank me for this, I am going to have you work for it:-)

So we will start here:

Then go to Popoli and have coffe there with a quick visit to the center. Then we move here:

then here, and afterwards to Navelli (saffron and chick-peas), and then via Castelvecchio Calvisio, Rocca Calascio, Campo Imperatore where we will eat arrosticini. we go down to Santo Stefano di Sessanio (of the lentils of Santo Stefano), maybe Bominaco, Paganica (of the hams af sausages according a medieval recipe of the De Paulis), Onna and L’ Aquila. on the way I will tell you everything, but really everything of what we see and why is this relevant for our sense of identity. I will tell you tales, historical and antropological information, proverbs, culinary products you don’ t want to miss. I will tell  you why this earthquake has destroyed more than buildings, and why we should not worry too much about this, because the clan is resilient and has been through all this already.

How much is this going to cost:

Last time we all went with own cars and spent some € 50 for lunch, dinner, coffee. This time I think I will rent one minibus, so if you let me know if you are interested and if you are coming by car or with a bus. Also we can sleep in L’ Aquila at a friendly price at the Spapizar Hotel. As soon as I know how many of you are interested, if the Friday is a better option than the Sunday after the picnic, I can get back to you with the complete price.

Mail me at: barbara@madrelingua.com

Oh, and in case you might still wondering where we all come from: we come from the sheep. And the sheperds. And their wifes living in the villages alone for 9 months per year while the men went with the flocks in Apulia. And then came home and brought jewels and clothing designs from the Middle East. Our forefathers and foremothers.