We have extra bedrooms in our apartment, so we invited some of the Sicily family to join us. It is the end of the school year, so a busy time for those with kids, but Frank’s cousin, Enza (whom you may remember from last year’s avventuras (adventures)) packed her bags and was ready. Her son, Salvio, and his compagna (girlfriend), Cettina, said they would drive her up and stay the day with us.
In true Italian fashion, they set out, not having any idea where we actually lived. I asked Frank if they knew our address, and he said, no, but they would call when they got close. They called us from the next town over, not dreaming we were actually within the city walls of Taormina. So Frank explained that we were next to the duomo (cathedral).
They drove on up and were shocked when they were stopped at the city gate (a huge stone arch built into the walled city). No outside cars allowed. Thankfully, Frank suspected this might happen and was there to look for them. He helped Enza out of the car and hailed a taxi that was allowed to go inside the gates, while Salvio and Cettina parked the car.
A Jug of Vino and a Basil Plant
We actually don’t live far from Porta Catania gate, but Enza had brought not only her suitcase, but a huge jug of wine (from Cettina’s family’s vineyard), a basil plant, and casserole dishes full of melanzane (eggplant) and involtini (a delicious dish with either fish or meat rolled up with breadcrumbs and cheese inside eggplant), plus her own pasta and tomato sauce and even marmalade made from the family orange grove. You have to love houseguests like this!!
We had the most jolly afternoon – starting with Aperol Spritzes all around while we caught up on news (thank goodness for Google Translate!).
Then we moved to pranzo (lunch) on the terrace – with the lunch that Enza had brought with her. All washed down by the jug wine – which is actually a higher quality than what you can buy in the stores since from their private vineyard – they keep the good stuff for themselves.
Then siesta. Around 7 pm, everyone woke up and headed out for passeggiata (where you walk up and down the main street with all the other locals) and then a pizza dinner.
Buona Compleanna Papa
In what was probably my favorite moment of the day, we all Facetimed my dad to wish him a happy birthday. We sang in English and Italian and were a very merry group (this was after the Aperol Spritz, jug wine, and a limoncello). Sherman is not a familiar name here – so we sang to “Share-Man”).
And my mother and Enza got to see each other – they have friended each other on Facebook (without any help from us) and post on each other’s pages all the time, even though I’m pretty sure neither knows what the other is saying.
P.S. My other favorite moment of the day was at the pizzeria. The family started singing Italian songs and then asked me to sign a song from my home. I started with, “Oh when the saints . . .” – and they all picked it up and sang it with gusto. I’m surprised we weren’t kicked out!