As Friday wound down my Scottish friend, Lynne, and I frantically planned our sleeping arrangements for the next four days while simultaneously orchestrating a final performance with the Camorra Kids. No small feat. Neither of us were working the following week; I was awaiting the arrival of my mother from New York and Lynne was recharging her batteries after the grueling week we'd just had. We texted friends and families spanning as far north as Tuscany and as far south as Siracusa hoping that someone would open their doors to us. One by one each potential possibility fell through, the clock struck eight, the final trains to Sicily and Florence left and we were still in Grazzanise.
Twins, Francesca and Federica CarboneThe Carbones dropped everything. They drove to a toll stop to pick us up, gave us plush bath robes for our hot showers and cooked us dinner at eleven o'clock. Anna Maria prepared roasted marinated vegetables, mozzarella di bufala, crusty bread, gelato and gorgeous peaches, even though a Nutella sandwich would have sufficed. The whole family came up to the rooftop terrace to enjoy our midnight snack. We laughed and ate while Mt. Vesuvius calmly watched from behind and the stars winked at us from above, as if to say, "See, this is the real Southern Italy."
Enzo, Anna Maria and Giovanni Carbone enjoying our midnight dinner
View of Mt. Vesuvius
It was the kind of hospitality I'd always imagined I'd find in the south. Mi Casa es Su Casa--literally--they gave us their house. Well they offered us the house while they were on vacation but the responsibility of a gorgeous four-story home and all its relics was too large.
San Giuseppe Vesuviana
So they gave us their apartment in neighboring San Giuseppe Vesuviana. Anna Maria had already called over to her sister who lives above the apartment, made sure we'd be well fed and even arranged our social calendar by alerting her 23-year-old nephew, Andrea, and beautiful 25-year-old family friend, Carla, of our arrival. All before we had finished our morning shot of espresso.
Ana Maria's sister serving us her homemade bruschetta
Carla, Me, Lynne
Andrea enjoying his Mom's home cooking
After 24 hours in San Giuseppe Vesuviana I had met more friends than in my first three months living in Treviso. The kind of friends that make you say, "I feel like we've known each other forever." Fun, warm, and above all, generous. Proud people who wanted us to experience the best of their region. And we did.