Lago di Croce as seen from our garden in the haven of the Dolomites
Torres d’alpago. Village of 122 persons at the foot of the magnificent Dolomites, equidistant from Cortina (one of Italy’s poshest ski resorts) and Venice. The location of one of my most life changing meetings.
Specifically, where I am sitting right here, right now writing this, Bar Vittoria Di Brida Bruna. In this village of 122 Bruna’s is the place to meet. Stories are told here over coffee in the morning as well as pre-lunch and dinner apero. Fresh bread is on hand daily alongside the latest natural products for the body. Bruna’s is the heart of this hamlet.
It is here that Claudio and I met 11 years ago, this is where he returns like a homing pigeon every year for his beloved Ferragosto. This is a uniquely Italian holiday whose origins go back to the time of Emperor Augustus in 18 BC. Later linked to the Catholic feast of the Assumption of Mary, today Ferragosto is a beach holiday extraordinaire and a 3 day festival wherever you are. Here in the mountains Claudio returns to the scene of childhood hijinks to visit cousins and friends and in some ways relive his youth during the festivities of his Ferragosto place, Garna.
Cousin Prode at his grill (center); From top left, Cuisine of Carota; linguine with sauce of wild capriolo, lasagna with wild mushrooms & wild pork; post pizza meringue dessert for Claudio and Bearli at Tevere pizzeria; Patti & Claudio share a happy moment; agnelllo d’alpago – the famous lamb of the region at Carota; a local specialty for the sweet tooth ‘spaghetti’- fresh cream, vanilla ice cream, homemade strawberry sauce, and coconut at Centrale.
This year even before the start of Ferragosto we have been the guest of cousins to a spectacular grill, complete with live music, mouthwatering food, uproarious laughter, and the kind of heartfelt discussions that I have come to look forward to here. The day before this we spontaneously visited our favorite pizzeria in Lomasano, Pizzeria Teverone, where in 12 years I have been unanimously delighted with the pizza and Claudio nearly always indulges in one of his favorite deserts. Each year we return to the scene of our first date, Carota, which beyond its culinary and vinery delights is owned in part by two dear friends. When we visited this year we had the extra bonus to go out together afterwards for ice cream at everyone’s favorite ice cream place, Bar Centrale. Surprising fact, this region of Italy is super famous for ice cream and I am sure to have one every single day at Centrale. Best of course shared with friends.
Returning here for me, with Claudio, is a chance to rediscover the entity which is us. Here in the cool of the mountains with time on our hands and technology at bay, we reconnect to what is real and important for us both. The first days of my recent return from six weeks in India (post forthcoming), can best be described as having come from a love fest to Dante’s Inferno. Being here, together, surrounded by people willing to be connected to nature and to their hearts so directly, my heart is at peace to be here in discovery and love.