San Cassiano War Memorial

The War Memorial in San Cassiano has been lovingly restored. Too many lives were lost from the area. It is heart breaking to see the list of the names of those who died fighting.

Bands played, crowds came…people of all ages, there were speeches, there was food and there was rain.

I saw the restored monument last week and it is looking great. It is clear that these men will not be forgotten.

I wasn’t there today, as I am now on my way back to Australia for a few months. Thank you to Paul Anthony Davies for allowing me to share his wonderful photos.

An opportunity?

A restaurant has closed in Ponte a Serraglio. Ristorante da Vinicio had been around for ages. When we first came 14 years ago it was busy every night. Here is a photo from back then.

In summer there were tables along the river, giving the little piazza a lovely festive atmosphere.

A death in the family and a serious illness have brought on the closure of the business. It will be missed this summer.

We need a restaurant at Ponte a Serraglio. Bruno’s is great, but one is not enough, particularly in the summer.

I don’t know any details about buying or renting the space, I just know that it needs a new family to take over…anyone out there?

Liberation Day

Giorno della Liberazione or Festa della Resistenza is celebrated in Italy on 25th April. It recognises the end of the Italian Civil War and the end of Nazi occupation of Italy in WWII in April 1945.

The liberation led to a referendum on June 2nd which resulted in the end of the monarchy and the creation of the Italian Republic.

April 25th was designated a national holiday in 1949 by Alcide De Gaspari, the last Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy.

There are celebrations all over Italy to mark the day. There are marching bands, parades and political rallies.

We attended an event in Vergemoli in Garfagnana. It seems difficult to believe that this tiny town with a population of about 100 people was caught up in the conflict, but the most northern of the fortifications the German army built across Italy, the Gothic Line, went right through the area.

Old army vehicles assembled in front of the comune.

Inside there was a collection of old photos. The tiny village saw lots of action and the village itself was bombed.

The photos are by Attilio Viziano.

Here you can see Vergemoli being bombed.

The people in front of this air raid shelter look remarkably cheerful.

Vergemoli

This is a photo of Vergemoli. It is interesting to note that there are no forests around the town as there are today. All the land was cultivated in those days. The hills were planted with wheat, grape vines and vegetables. No doubt this helped the people survive the horrors of war.

I can’t imagine having to live through what these people did. What a pity we don’t seem to learn enough from past conflicts.

A book has been put together by Andrea Giannasi and Moreno Maffucci about the Gothic Line in Garfagnana where these photos and more have been included.

We bought it even though it is in Italian. It will be good practice to try to read it.

A fun day in Fornoli

Fornoli put on a great show today for Carneval. It was a day for the children to take centre stage…with the help of their teachers and parents. 6 local school teams paraded in their costumes. The theme this year was food.

It was a glorious day. Winter sun shone down on the activities. All the participants gathered in the piazza on the Chifenti side of the Ponte della Catene. There were last minute details to attend to and friends to greet before the parade started. The band practised and the children lined up in their groupsCarneval Fornoli

Carneval Fornoli

Carneval Fornoli

Carneval Fornoli

Carneval Fornoli

Soon they were off for the short walk to Piazza Aldo Moro in Fornoli where the judging of the contestants took place.

Carneval Fornoli

Carneval Fornoli

It was too much for some.

Carneval Fornoli

The contestants were welcomed onto the stage for the judging

Eventually the winners were chosen. The children from Borgo a Mozzano came third.

Carneval Fornoli

San Cassiano took second place.

Carneval Fornoli

Fabbriche di Casabasciana won first prize to much cheering.

Carneval Fornoli

I think they were all winners. Clearly everyone put in a great effort to make the day a success. Congratulations to all.

A special thank you to Marco Nicoli for his hard work and commitment.

Carneval Fornoli

Everyone spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the food and craft stalls and other fun and games.

Inaugural Ponte a Serraglio meatball competition

Today Paul Stoker, local resident, hosted the very first Ponte a Serraglio meatball competition.

There were 14 competitors and three worthy judges.

This is the trophy awaiting the lucky winner.

Meatball comp

Here is Paul registering the competitors.

Meatball comp

Each competitor was given a numbered plate on which 2 meatballs would be presented to the judges. Here is the criteria for the judges…serious stuff.

Meatball comp

The meatballs were heated in the kitchen and placed on the plates and taken to the judges…not by the competitors, it was all anonymous.

Meatball comp

Here are the judges setting to their work.

Meatball comp

The competitors and other guests waited patiently for the judges to complete their task.

Meatball comp

Then it was time to eat the meatballs.

Finally it was time to announce the winners. Third prize, I am happy to say, came to me. Teri came second and the winner…Paul Stoker.

Meatball comp

Meatball comp

Meatball comp

Meatball comp

Meatball comp

This may seem a little unusual, but Paul’s meatballs were delicious and the judges had no idea who made them.

It was a fun afternoon…and we will all be practising to beat Paul next year.