Today is the huge festival of Pentecost down in our little village of Camiore. There have been signs up for days announcing the festivities and we’re looking forward to mingling with the locals.
After breakfast and a shower we come together in the living room.
It has become our unfortunate, but perhaps necessary habit to sit bent over our devices in this area that has the best connection. Some are posting, some are borrowing other’s posts and photos, there is skyping or face timing back home every now and then and the occasional phone call is made.
On this day we have ample time to take care of all of the above and then some. No one really knows what time we’ll be going so we sit and wait a while. A long while with no word.
Karin and I both wander back to our room to nap or read or do something to fill the time. It’s chilly and overcast so roaming the grounds does not sound appealing.
Eventually we are all assembled and make our way down to the heart of Camiore. We learn most of the streets were closed and blocked because of the celebrations until 2, this is why our departure has been delayed.
Each time we wind our way around these roads going out or coming in we capture the tiniest glimpses of this town. The corner market with huge squash blossoms or fiori zucchine, two always busy pizzerias, an elevated cemetery and many small and large churches. Since I’m not driving I’m not even entirely sure we’re going the same way each time. Today, we see the town as a whole. It’s much larger than the corner produce shop belies. And even though it’s pretty quiet at this hour, it still has an aliveness to it. It’s as if a moment ago there was a great amount of activity and suddenly everyone is hiding. And it feels like something is going to happen again soon.
As we slowly walk the main drag appreciating the old buildings, brightly colored flowers and charm, our conversation naturally turns to food. Pizza sounds good. I have yet to experience a pizza in Italy.
There are about 10 of us. We find an outdoor pavilion attached to a restaurant with available seats and make our move. Seated there before us were a few solitary disheveled looking men, smoking and drinking beer – connected only by the football game on the screen above us. (Soccer)
We inquire and are seated at two tables. The gentlemen can scarcely avert their gaze in our direction but when they do, they rearrange themselves and offer chairs to accommodate us.
The pizza is sublime. An oh so thin base with barely a lip of crust to hold onto. The marinara sauce is surely freshly homemade with the perfect amount of mozzarella on top. That is all. That’s all that is needed. Paired with a light chianti or a robust Italian beer, it is the perfect Sunday afternoon feast. After lunch, as we’re walking back to the car, a few of us are drawn to a gelato spot. Karin and I, to a wine and cheese shop. As we peruse the selections pretending to know what is good here (isn’t it all good?) the quintessential hot Italian man – MAN – walks in. Immediately we are 16. We attempt to stifle a giggle as I pretend to take a picture of Karin while actually zooming in on him. We’re caught. He smiles. Our knees buckle. We giggle again trying to look a sophisticated brand of silly. I don’t think we pull it off. He leaves. We purchase our wine from the smirking shop owner then slink out.
As we emerge with our contributions to the villa wine stock, we find all those people that were hiding just an hour before suddenly congregated around the gelato shop. Siesta time is over.
But we are leaving now to avoid getting trapped by more road closures.
Not much more than 2 hours after we return to our villas, we are invited to the other villa for dinner. They are making pasta. 2 of the residents are trained cooks. How could we say no?
When it came down to it, it was after 9 and although the food looked and smelled amazing I just couldn’t find room for much more than a glass of wine.
Time for bed. Tomorrow we drive to a new hill town to “take the waters” for a spa day.