Hello from Cortona! My arrival in Italy coincided with two very different
events, which at the same time had something in common. Saturday was
the annual Snail Festival in Fosse del Lupo (“the wolves’
den”), a town in the valley outside of Cortona. Sunday marked
the sixtieth anniversary of D-Day. What could these two events have
in common? The answer is very simple: snails became a popular menu item
during World War II when food was scarce.
Everyone enjoyed their meal to celebrate the Snail Festival.
Food festivals are a common occurrence in Italy, usually celebrated
around the time a particular food is in season. Snails are prevalent
at the beginning of the summer. My son-in-law Roberto’s mother
Enza, with the help of our granddaughters Sofie and Michela, went out
and gathered the snails and then cooked them up. We enjoyed our very
own snail feast, made all the more enjoyable by much family togetherness
and laughter. Everyone agreed that the snails were wonderful. Even Kate
ate a plateful, although she admitted that she was fine as long as she
didn’t think about what she was eating. Sixty years ago, no one
cared that they were eating snails. They were just grateful to have
something to eat.
Pat, Sofie, Michela and Kate at Lake Trasimeno.
During the weekend, we did some sightseeing. One of the places we visited
was Lake Trasimeno, the site at which Hannibal and the Carthaginians
defeated the Romans in a historic battle.
Pat and the girls on the way to the Church of Santa Margherita.
We also took a hike up the Via Crucis (“the way of the cross”)
all the way to the Church of Santa Margherita. Gino Severini, who was
a contemporary of Picasso, designed the stations of the cross in a mosaic
which line the avenue up to the church.
The walk proved a bit much for Michela, who sat down on the church
step to rest as soon as we got there.
Monday morning I was delighted to have the opportunity to walk Michela
to school, but the pleasure was all mine for she didn’t want to
go. Our route to the school took us through the many vicoli (“alleyways”)
of Cortona. Here, one walks everywhere, and I should be in great shape
when I return to Virginia.
Michela is wearing the traditional smock of Italian school children.
Until next week. Ciao!