With the new, Argentinian pope calling himself Francis, after my fair city, my attention was drawn to what is happening in Italy these days. I love thinking about Italy.
There is so much to love.
The language, the food, the buildings, and the people.
My most recent visit was in November 2011, to the northern city of Ferrara.
Ferrara, though not widely known in the US, is a cool, compact, walled city with a moated castle. In the Christmas season it was a magical place.
My son’s host family gave us a warm welcome, including homemade Hawthorne liqueur.
I wonder if Rowan chose to learn Italian partly because of a trip we took there during the Vatican’s Jubilee year in 2000. We took a boat from Greece to the port of Brindisi on the outer heel.
We rented a car and drove across the sole of the boot, into the toe and then north along the Mediterranean sea. Along the way we visited both tourist sights and some more unusual spots.
Alberobello’s old houses, called Trulli, are all built with conical, dry stone roofs. No mortar was used so that the roofs could be torn down at a moment’s notice to avoid taxes.
All are topped with pinnacles that have meanings: Primitivo, Cristiani e Magici, just like Italy herself.