15 Agosto: For a good Italian, you will know this as the holiday of Ferragosto (okay, you might also know the thing about Mary.)
Traditionally, the month of August is a time of vacation for most Italians. Especially in Rome, most residents leave the city for the seaside or the mountains to escape the intense heat. (I'm still asking myself why I chose to return to Rome during this time.) But, wherever you live, August 15 is a national holiday. From what I gathered, it's celebrated sort of like the USA's Fourth of July or Labor day, with families getting together for a picnic or barbeque or to go to the beach. And so, being a good Italian-in-the-making, I did as the Italians do.
|We started with mass to celebrate the Assumption of Mary.|
|And then on to the partying. This is Fr. Loris and Davide (not a typo).|
|Beginning to swarm around the table.|
|Two of the homemade dessert choices.|
|A little wine and some good food makes Brother happy.|
|In the orchard.|
|Fr. Loris definitely had the right idea!|
In case you're wondering what we ate. We enjoyed a typical Italian "pranzo" (lunch) starting with antipasto (cheese and prosciutto). Then we had pasta (lasagna in this case) followed by a cold rice salad (very yummy). Then there was porchetta (what we would think of as roasted pig), vitello (veal cutlets), roasted peppers, salad, and bread. Of course, all this is accompanied by wine (and yes the glass had no bottom). Next, we ate fruit (figs from their orchard) and then dessert - there were four options to choose from, and the only option was to take a piece of each one. During dessert, you have to drink prosecco (champagne) and then limoncello and/or grappa (think moonshine!) And we're not done yet - there's always coffee at the end (if you can call such a small glass coffee.) After all this, we had to rest which was easy to do in the afternoon sun. Later in the evening, our hosts convinced us to stay for cena (dinner) and once again, they outdid themselves. The fifth dessert was presented at this time (all home-made).