The People

 

I will never forget the night when I truly mingled with the Italians.

It was in the tiny village of Cercepiccola, which sits approximately two hours east of Rome. We were traveling with our friends Colleen and Elio. Elio was so excited to get to his hometown.

Within minutes of our arrival the entire town got word: Elio was back. 

We were staying at his uncle's house, a quaint little place with a breathtaking view of the rolling hills. It was right out of a postcard.

Settling in proved almost impossible! All afternoon neighbour after neighbour and friend after friend wanted to see him. My favourite visitor was Bruno, an old friend who showed up with a bottle of red wine and fresh peaches. He peeled the peaches, plunked them into the wine, and two minutes later we were all toasting Elio's return. What a welcome we received.

That evening we were invited to Bruno's for dinner.  He is a truffle hunter. We are huge fan of truffles so needless to say we were thrilled. 

Dinner was definitely an interesting event. Bruno didn't speak a word of English. So there was poor Elio translating for all of us during the entire meal. We almost fell over when Bruno brought out a paper bag full of black truffles— apparently $5,000 worth. "A little something to sprinkle on our dinner," he said—in Italian, of course.

As we were finishing up a neighbour of Bruno arrived. A few words were exchanged, an agreement was made and off he went.

Bruno threw his arms up and announced something with excitement. Elio looked at us and translated. We were going to Tony's down the road for dinner! With a mouth full of food I said, "What do you mean dinner? We are having dinner!" "Well, we can't decline, it's rude," said Elio. So we finished up and off we went to dinner number two!

It was very dark that night. Driving along the narrow country road, all we could see was a few feet ahead and the beautiful bright stars. As we approached, there it was. The picture-perfect Italian setting: a long table sitting in the yard, candles lit, bottles of wine, a slew of platters holding homemade everything you can think of and at least twenty guests.

After receiving another incredible warm welcoming we were given dinner number two. I have never, ever, in my entire life been as full as that evening.

There was music and dancing in the courtyard until the wee hours. What a night!

Those Italians—do they ever know how to live!