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Commune on the Mountain 2017

Making a local connection

Michael Cole

Italy

The taxi dropped us off on a mountain road in front of a massive stone cliff face. We pulled our suitcases as close to the stone as possible knowing that on a windy road like this the Italian drivers could whip around a bend into us. There was a small call box implanted into the stone, and I pressed the button. A few minutes later, a young man with the widest smile I had ever seen came from around the bend, a moment later, a metal basket on a cable lowered to the ground and he began loading our bags. My wife looked at me with fire in her eyes, and I knew she wasn't happy about the bed and breakfast I had chosen.
After a fifteen minute hike up through the woods, we arrived at the villa, sweating but relieved. Giacomo, one of the two owners and brother of Pasquale who had greeted us, showed us around. He had cold glasses of lemonade ready for us, on the veranda, while our bags were delivered to our room. We sat with a retired couple, who had also not known they would be climbing mountain to get to their destination.
Giacomo told us that his parents had owned this land and farmed, and he and his brother had decided to turn it into a bed and breakfast because it had proven a very successful business model. He told us how they still grew much of their own produce, and made their own liqueur. Every other night they had enough produce yielded that they made dinner for any guests who wanted.
When we finally arrived in our room, we walked out onto the balcony, and looked down at Positano, and out at the Amalfi peninsula as it faded off into the clouds.
We each showered, and freshened up before going downstairs to have dinner with the rest of the guests. Total there were nine couples seated at a long family style table. We were one of three on our honeymoon, but it was evident that each couple was on a romantic get-away.
Giacomo cooked, while his wife, and Pasquale served us. The meal was completely vegetarian, after a salad, we were given flat square pasta with a zucchini sauce—that my wife has been trying to recreate for two years. We were each given delectable rice balls, that were an amalgam of arancini and falafel.
While we were being fed beyond our imaginations, our wine glasses seemed to be bottomless, and a bottle of their mandarine orange liqueur was split among all. It stung as it went down, but helped to make the night have a more magical fuzziness to it. We topped the night off with tiramisu, before Pasquale proceeded to play guitar for us. We talked, sang and laughed for the rest of the night.


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