Feast Day of San Giovanni Battista – We Are Blessed · Jun 18, 08:36 AM by James Martin
The first sign of something brewing was the flower petal design placed on the tarmac in front of our little church.
Then the neighbors invited us to Sunday lunch for the feast day of San Giovanni Battista.
One thing I knew not to expect when I bought a house in Italy was acceptance into the fabric of the local community. I had heard stories of rejection not just from Brits and Americans, but by folks moving from places as foreign to northern Tuscany as, say, Naples. In this sense, we are truly blessed by Italian neighbors who have made an extraordinary effort to include us in local celebrations.
“It is these Italian seniors that are so modern, open minded and accepting in their mindsets that are what make life in Italy so special for new overseas residents. It is a reality that casts away the stereo type of Italian culture forever.” Says Nick Garrett who has lived in Parma, Italy for 7 years.
In any case, by 1pm everyone in our little cluster of buildings in Piano di Collecchia (sopra) was gathered around long tables under a sunshade. The aperitivi were brough out: Insalata di Farro—a salad made from the grain from the Garfagnana region to the south of the Lunigiana—meats like lardo di Colonnata, homemade salami and coppa, bread, and two types of torta dell’erba.
Then came ravioli in brodo, a meat-filled ravioli in broth. Then the chickens stewed for the broth came out along with some delicious green sauce to add zip to the rich, round flavors of the long-cooked chicken. A sformata of vegetables cooked in the wood-fired oven rounded out the course.