We experienced a first today: We had our home blessed by the parish priest of Montecarlo, don Lorenzo Battioli. I had read that this was an Italian tradition during Easter week, and a letter from don Lorenzo had been put in our mailbox about a week ago with a schedule stating that he would be offering blessings to homes on via Roma this afternoon.
I had neglected to note this on our calendar, and it was only because of the providence of God that we were home. We had scheduled an appointment at the massage parlor for Lucy this afternoon, but because of some confusion about the time (our fault—we don’t want to talk about it!), I had just called to reschedule it for the next day.
(photo from noitv.it)
We went down to greet them, introduce ourselves and invite them up. The man with don Lorenzo introduced himself as Claudio Donatini, and as is a common experience, he said he was related to a Spadoni through a marriage between a Capocchi and a Spadoni. I told him my great grandmother was a Capocchi, so we undoubtedly have a common ancestor somewhere. This is not at all unusual here. Indeed, I’d estimate more than half the people in Montecarlo are related if only we had complete records dating back 800 years.
We bowed our heads, and don Lorenzo recited a short prayer and sprinkled holy water before he shook our hands and went on his way to the next house. He and I have passed on the street several times, and while each of us knew who the other was, we had never formally met, so this was another small but important step in our slow integration into the community.
Now fully awake, I suggested to Lucy that we take advantage of the remaining daylight and take a walk on a trail that I had noted last fall. It had looked a little too rough to negotiate on my bike, but I had kept it in mind. We drove to the cemetery and then walked for 10-15 minutes down the hillside, first past tall oaks, then groves of olive trees, and then more oaks. We found an open grass field with benches, where we sat and enjoyed a view of the hills on the other side of the Valdinievole. One of the towns clearly visible was Stignano, where my Spadoni ancestors lived from around 1490 to 1630. We filed this away as a great place to come for a picnic lunch during warmer weather. Anybody want to meet us here?