In Atessa on August 16th for the Feste Patronali. It goes for several nights, and on this night they had a food, music and culture walk through the town. They are five food stops set up in piazzas along the route. Wine and an antipasto, wine and a pasta, wine and a second course, wine and a dolce and digestif and a gelato. Each set up in one of the many little piazzas around the town. Along the walk you come across music, art and historical displays just about every time you turn a corner. Think of it as a Ren Faire, but in a town where some of the buildings predate the Renaissance. The old town of Atessa is on the highest part of the hill, so there are lots of levels and stairs. Narrow streets with even narrower passageways that go between and under houses to the next street. We ended the night back down at the big central plaza down by the newer part of town just after nine pm and by then the party was really starting to get going with the big square filling with people to drink, eat and just stroll and chat with friends. (Yeah, I know, we’re wussies, pooping our just as the party is getting started.
One thing that I have noticed living in a small town in Italy is that when you run into people that you even just sort of know from seeing them at the same bar you go to for coffee, they will always greet you warmly on the street, not just the casual hello and a nod you would typically do in America, but you are expected to stop, and exchange pleasantries. There is a short rhythm and ritual to it, like greetings everywhere, but here in Abruzzo, they are old customs and people are clearly not just going through the motions. Come Va? (How is it going) Tutto bene, e’ tu? (Everything good, and you?) Now, if they have some malady, they will probably tell you. Oh, I hurt my foot yesterday, but I think it will be fine. Or they will say. Anche bene (also good). Ok, now we have the initial hello out of the way. Lets get nosy. Dove va? (Where you going?) You can say, to the store, or just out for a walk (passeggiata). Or if your at a festa or going out to dinner, being Italy, everyone has an opinion about food, they will tell you what is the best and why. Then you move on to the goodbye part. Buon Giorno for morning, or Buona Sera for evening. Ciao ciao, Arrivaderci.
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