We visit Kathleen's roots in Pavone Canavese, Northern Italy
August 30th & September 10-12, 1999:
With no language skills, we found Pavone (not on any of our maps) through the friendliness of the Italians. It's the village from which Kathleen's grandmother came. Her cousin Isabella still lives here in the house that has become the life's work of her and her husband Andrea.
Their front door has no stoop before the street. When the house was built, traffic was slower, announcing itself with the sounds of horse hooves.
They insisted we drive our van inside their villa.
It was only then that we began to understand their world.
At first we needed a lot of help communicating. Isabella's first step was to call her son, Olivier, who speaks English.
Soon we discovered her first language was French, and she helped Henry to get simple messages across.
Originally all the rooms in their home connected only through the outside. One used these stairs & decks to move from room to room.
Notice the small window in the wall on the second floor landing. That's where the neighboring farmer passes milk to Isabella twice daily.
The neighbors keep an older breed of cow in the traditional ways, milking them by hand twice each day.
Starbucks can never compete with coffee made from fresh milk.
Isabella made it for every meal of the day.
Producing their own food is a way of life for all Italians with rural roots.
To the left they are growing lemon trees and herbs in pots.
Gioconda, now 76, takes the compost out to make more fertilizer.
We ate figs straight from their trees.
and plums from their orchard all melted in our mouths.
Three generations of the Danni family, with extended family thrown in.
From left to right: Andrea Jr. (age 11), Susanna (wife of Olivier), Gioconda(Danni Cousin), Isabella Quilico in Danni (Mary Peila's cousin), Henry (distant in-law), Oliviero (Isabella and Andrea Sr.'s son), Kathleen Laraia (cousin), and Andrea Sr..
The plant that supports this beast of a pumpkin is trained up on arbors to keep it overhead, out of the way and protected from pests.
And that milk can't go to waste. Isabella makes the leftovers each day into soft cheese for the next day's meals.
Their guests are happy with their food.
After dinner, we looked through Isabella's photo albums. Notice the drawer they're kept in: the date the bureau was made was 1742.
Siesta in Pavone.
The house where Kathleen's grandmother was born.
We happened to come at the time of the Fete d'Pavone, their fall country festival.
Everything you can imagine was for sale, from pure-bred dogs,
to locally made cheese,
to spent phone cards from every nation on earth.
These two would make you any deal you wanted. Three for the price of two, six and get one free, ten and pay for a dozen... wait a minute.
It took these guys an hour to get this old diesel tractor started.
Watching them, we wondered how these machines ever took over from oxen.
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