I have always considered myself lucky that I have been surrounded, especially as a child, by a loving and caring family. I have fond memories of growing up, spending time with all of my cousins, aunts & uncles, and I was extremely fortunate to be able to have all of my grandparents around until I was an adult. My grandparents are gone now. And on this past Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, my Aunt Barbara DeGuilio passed away.
Aunt Barb was more than just an aunt to me and my brother and sister. She was a second mother to us, as we spent almost every single weekend of our lives in her company. Holidays were spent with her and Uncle Joe, and their two sons, Ricky and Jim, who were more like brothers to me than cousins. Summers were spent swimming for hours in their pool, and then sitting down for family meals at the large wooden picnic table in their back yard. And best of all were the family vacations that we would all take once a year, usually during Spring Break. I so looked forward to those. Those trips which we all took together sparked a love of travel in me. They made me curious to see the world and to explore as much as I possibly could. And while I will miss Aunt Barb horribly, I also know that she will always be alive, in my heart, and I find peace in that thought.
As I began my fourth, and last day in Cerveteri, the piazza outside of my B&B was being set up for an outdoor mass. This was the second, and final day of the Festa Patronale di San Michele Arcangelo, and the mass began the day’s festivities.
In another part of the piazza, they were setting up the Palo Della Cuccagna, a pole climbing competition which would take place later in the day.
I had decided to head back out to explore the part of the necropolis of Etruscan tombs that lay outside of the ticketed area. The map given to me at the tourist information stand showed where they were, so off I went.
I quickly found the first group of tombs that I was looking for. It was wonderful! And I had the place to myself!
While I was exploring the area pictured above, I heard what sounded like the cries of a boar in distress. They were coming from one of the tombs, or so it seemed. I found it odd that the people a bit further down the path were completely unaffected by the sound, but I found it just a bit frightening, so I did an about-face, and headed back towards civilization, not wanting to come face to face with whatever animal was crying like that. I found out later, that it was a recording used to keep the boars away from the area.
Heading back into town, there was nothing left to do but to sit down to a nice, leisurely lunch. I dined on a mixed antipasto, a wonderful bowl of sausage and beans, water, wine, biscotti, coffee and grappa – all for E 15.00, at one of the little local wine vendors.
Then, it was time for a nap! The nap didn’t last long, though, as the sound of music from the piazza below floated up to my window, and before you know it, I was heading back outside to join in the festivities.
First there was music and dancing featuring the Compagnia Sciarabballo.
The music was followed by the Pasticciere in Passerella – a dessert making competition, which, like the pasta making of the day before, featured one citizen from each of the town’s neighborhoods. Once that the desserts were judged, and the winner announced, they were all cut into servings and given out to the crowd.
Next was the Palo della Cuccagna, a contest where teams of three people tried to climb to the top of a greasy pole, and claim prizes that hung suspended there.
I headed to a restaurant named Barrel for dinner.
I dined on a potato and pancetta torte, followed by pasta in a veal sauce, and for dessert pistachio panna cotta. I made it back to my room just in time to see fireworks marking the end of the festival, and for me, the end of my stay in Cerveteri!
Next up: a brief stop in the Eternal City – Roma!
Note: this Blog is written in English, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any translations which may appear.