Italian Food and Flavours
Last Sunday was the re opening of a church off the tiny piazza of the pretty hill top village of Montedinove. The villagers came together under the scorching sun to listen to speeches, and watch the ribbon being cut on a church that for many locals holds lots of memories. They were keen to share their stories.
One man remembers as a child, climbing up the brick facade of the church to catch pigeons perching on the jutting out bricks, to later cook and eat with his family. He laughs as he tells me that he never fell ! The bricks jutt out because the facade is in fact unfinished and was originally planned to be covered with sheets of marble Thus the bricks should have been hidden from sight.
I also heard stories of the crypt underneath the church and the tunnels that lead to other parts of the village. At Christmas it was used to house the nativity scenes and the children were enthralled by the darkness lit only by candle light, to highlight the scenes of Christ’s birth. I’m not sure what the tunnels were built for exactly but I am promised a tour. Men remember being choir boys, and being chided by the priest for dawdling whilst they changed into their robes.
After the speeches there was a Holy Mass. It was a scorching hot day and inside was cool. As I listened to the beautiful hymns I gazed upward at the perfectly restored Corinthian columns and pale interiors. These had first been completed in the 1700s, but had deteriorated over the years. This had resulted in the church being closed for many years.
Wandering out of the service I chat with a local who tells me how it was to live here when she was young – the sense of community, of being all one family. Everyone’s doors open and food and gossip being shared. The narrow, cobblestoned streets full of children playing and all ages going about their daily business. Now the village is much quieter but still during the summer months the streets echo with footsteps of children running around. Some of them have been my own children welcomed into this lovely place and making their own memories.