Monday, July 2, 2018

A Warm Sunday BBQ and a Palio


Sunday, 1 July, 2018

It was another scorching day in the greater Venegono Superiore megalopolis, perfect for but one thing . . .

. . . a backyard BBQ with a whole
bunch of Skorpion friends!

The meat was grilling when we got
to the home of our hosts the Giorgio and
Santisima Barbara

They, along with their children Federica and Raffaele, live in a historic home in Varese built in the 1500s that was intended as an inn for people traveling to and from Milan to Switzerland.

Today it is a five unit housing edifice that is appropriately rustic on the outside but modern and efficient on the inside. 

Shade under a grapevine arbor
worked for us

 It worked just fine for
Santisima Barbara and Stefania
as well

Today marked Stefania and Pietro's 22nd wedding anniversary, AUGURI!

Giorgio overseeing the BBQ tables

Did I mention that there was wine, Prosecco and beer?

In copious amounts?

 Now we were rolling!

It was at about this time that Giorgio, Santisima Barbara and Federica pulled Laurie and I aside.

They wanted to show us something. 

No, not just this vintage
communication device

 Nor just these vintage helmets
that Giorgio wore back in the day

Not even just this incredibly
carved hutch

What they were showing us was all of this unit in their building that will be the Villa Skorpion II in 2019!

We will be living in the same building as the Nardi family in a 500 year old building and we even will have a 600 year old church right next door.

The critical question that I had was about the proximity of a good gelateria. The answer was about 350 meters down the street.

PERFETTO! When do we sign the papers?

Soon after having happily inspected our future home, a strange thing happened in the complexes huge back yard.

The Skorpions had a meeting . . .

. . . and a touch football
game broke out

At a Summer BBQ in Italy, who would have guessed?

QB Dario being chased
by Dani

 Baffo with a catch!

Baffo trying to catch Betto
  
 The stands were PACKED!

Offensive Tackle Nikko even got
to launch a pass

What are these two pointing at?

PASS!

Dani, PUT THAT BALL AWAY!

Going DEEP!

Too Deep

After the halftime break, Dario D'Adelfio who is Sicilian by birth, approached me with an offer that he simply told me I could not refuse.

He wanted me to enter the game for one play on the Goal Line as a Wide Receiver.

Fearing the complete annihilation of my family if I said no, I acquiesced. 

Using a modified Iowa TE stance
vs. Dani's Cover Two Zone technique

 I released hard inside . . .

. . . worked up the field . . .

. . . and went to the outside, the
structural weakness of Cover Two . . .

. . . and hid behind a tree

As anticipated, the defense completely lost track of me but Dario's pass was overthrown.

At least my family was safe.

We had a great time, as usual, with the Skorpion Family and really want to again thank Santisima Barbara, Giorgio, Federica and Raffaele for their hospitality not just for today but for the entire five and a half months I've been living in Italy.

We said our final good-byes to everyone and headed home to continue preparing for our six month vacation in California.

After a few hours at the Villa Skorpion, I got the itch to see one more event nearby.

Laurie was too far into the World Cup games on TV and opted to stay home while I went to see . . .

Castiglione Olona's
Palio dei Castelli XLIII
festivities

 I got there just in time for the tail end
of the medieval costume parade

Looking GOOD in red

A tad hot for those costumes
I would guess

 Here come the flags!

HEY!
Don't let those drag on the ground!

Regal

Really Regal!

Old Guys Rule!

Serious crown bearers

 THE BAND!

Drums, apparently, were
THE instrument in medieval times
  
Laurie was a Flag Girl
at Crescenta Valley H.S.
  
 She twirled them just like this . . .

. . . if memory serves me correctly

But I don't think that she . . .

. . . tossed them this high in the air

I like the ear covers

 Good looking horse

 A serious looking man

That horse is in a lather!

I said it was a good looking horse

 Another noble steed that
is seriously overheating

The parade was over and now I had to find out exactly where the big deal of the day would be held, the Corsa delle Botti.

One man said that it would
start in the historic center
of Castiglione Olona

This flag is the symbol of the
Centro Storico Contrada or neighborhood

 There's a wine keg with
the crests of the eight contradas
next to the words PRO LOCO

I must be getting close.

 How old is this mural in
Centro Storico?

 I liked the sign but I was told
that a better spot to see all of the
action was up the hill at the Castle

When I got there, the grounds that were empty yesterday when Laurie and I visited were PACKED!

The line to get a beer was about 50 meters long and all the other concession stands had long queues as well.

Parade done, several of the more
militant medieval re-enactors got
comfortable in the warm conditions

Now I just needed to stake out a good place to see where the wine kegs used in the Corsa Delle Botti would be driven to the finish line of this unique Paleo race.

A nice police officer told me that this
would be a good corner to see the action

So I sat and waited.

About 45 minutes before the race,
this member of the five-man Ciapa
team came by on a warm-up run

Nice outfit.

The Corsa Delle Botti was set to start at 9:00 p.m. sharp.

Of course, it started 15 minutes late.

Which hurt as the rapid loss of sunlight would make picture taking a bit dicey.

Here comes the pack up the hill
towards me

The Somadeo Contrada was easily in front and had already made the turn up the street to my right about 2o seconds earlier.

The race went around the large block where I stood and as I switched sides of the street then . . .

. . . circled back to me

The boys from Somadeo had increased their lead to about 30 seconds with the other seven Contrada squads still in a bunch and fighting fiercely for the Silver Medal.

Fortunately, my phone camera took decent videos of the race. 

Somadeo in the lead
at the turn

The pack trailing the leaders

Somadeo bringing home the GOLD!

This was a huge win for the Somadeo Contrada, their first since 1999, and only their second victory in the 43 year history of the event. They were the last Contrada without multiple wins.

The all-time wins leaders are the Centro Storico and the Madonna in Campagna Contradas with eight wins apiece.

On the walk back to the car I ran across . . .

. . . this street named after
this Sicilian poet, the 1959 winner
of the Nobel Prize for Literature


I wonder if he had a . . .

Never mind, definitely a non-PC thought.

What can I say other than . . .

IT WAS ANOTHER MADCAP DAY
TO BE LIVING IN ITALY!

2 comments:

David said...

You're going to need a bigger tree to hide behind.

George said...

There actually was a bigger tree at the other end of the field until a player ran through it and broke it in half.