Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas in the South

On Sunday, December 20th, I found myself on the EuroStar train heading south from Florence to Napoli. A last minute change in holiday plans allowed me connect with Giancarlo Rizzi in Napoli, with whom I spent a splendid two days taking in the endless energy and beauty of this most dynamic, antique, stimulating city. It is easy to understand why I revel so much in the feeling of my Napoletan roots....this is a people who are always smiling, singing, dancing, with a swing in their walk, whose eyes are vibrant and whose passion is expressed in their endless love of life, loving and friendship. To me, this is the sexiest city on earth

Christmastime in Napoli is something special...the presepi, the outdoor music, festivals, the lights, the fireworks...the profumo of cibo everywhere, the parades, the rituals, the masses., the sfougliatelli! All of Napoli comes out for days before and after Christmas to delight in the passion that swallows up this city of diverse contrasts.

Giancarlo, along with his mom and friends, welcomed me with open arms. Together we took in several museums, the underground excavations, numerous churches and castellos, as well as having dined with his mamma, whose food was something out of my grandmother's kitchen....brasiole, panzerotti, carcofi, melanzane, meatballs and.....her true work of art.....struffoli! On the second night we dined with his friends...4 couples with whom I made an instant connection. The next day, we visited his beach house in Pozzuoli and had mussels and wine on the sand before dropping me off at the ferry which I would then take to Ischia....where I would spend my Christmas with Maria, Franco, Celeste and William.

Christmas in Ischia
As Giancarlo saw me off at Pozzuoli, I boarded the ferry to Cassamicola, Ischia, where Maria was to meet me. I spent the hour ferry ride re-living every moment of that day last September when I first traveled to Ischia in search of my great-grandparents' birthplace and birth records. Ischia has drawn me back to its shores, to its sea, to its people. I was on my way back again to Ischia to celebrate the festivities with the family of Maria, who I met in Lacco Ameno during my search last September.

To Be Continued (just haven't had time to write)