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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ti Amo Italia

Dearest Southern Italy,
I adore you. You are ancient, loud, sometimes elegantly shabby and always very sweet.
Ti Amo
Almost half my ancestors came from Napoli, so spending my time in the south of the boot was my way of honoring their contribution to my genetic makeup.
I didn't get to all the places I'm told you should go. But where I went will always be with me.
I flew into Bari, where I spent a few days wandering from gelato, to dinosaur tracks, to focaccia made the same way for over 400 years.
The train west across the boot and then South took me to Policastro. My farm host and his 3 year old son Corrado, greeted me and drive me up winding hills to San Giovanni a Piro, which has been situated under the mountain for over 300 years.
The house I stayed in was that old, and held secrets of family history for at least that long.
Days spent tending to grape vines, planting zucchini in the veg garden and caring for the animals slid slowly into one another.
I wandered up to cliffs overlooking the sea and down to Policastro which sits right upon it. A lazy, lovely time.
Napoli drew me next. I was afraid, from stories I'd heard, that this city would be rough and dangerous. Except it wasn't that for me.
The folks yelling back and forth to one another, mocking and teasing, fried pizzas and sfogliatella were my family. Different country and different time perhaps, but the tastes, sounds and shabby beauty of that ancient place were very familiar and comforting.
I want to spend more time there some day, perhaps with family in tow.
I'm in Dublin now for a week then on to Iceland!