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Dear Friends,

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!


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©P. Buckley Moss 2004

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