If on an Autumn night a traveller would drive through the little village of Belvedere Fogliense, best if wrapped up by its typical November fog, he might wonder whether he is crossing a fairy land. A handful of colored little houses on a peak with a breath-taking view on the surrounding hills and an unusual quiet – almost still – atmosphere would welcome him upon his arrival. He would ask himself: am I dreaming or am I awake?
If the same traveller would be told that last week-end, in Belvedere Fogliense, ten families opened up their houses to perfect strangers to invite them to dinner, he would be sure he is actually dreaming.
And yet, this is what happened last Friday and Saturday night in Belvedere. Guess who’s coming to dinner? is the title of a well-known film. But this was no fiction. This was reality. When reality overcomes dreams.
The families hosting their guests did not actually know who was coming to dinner! The inborn sense of hospitality of the inhabitants of Belvedere, for the fith year in a row, had them serve food according to tradition to perfect strangers. That is the idea: connect people through hospitality, food, tradition.
An innovative, and yet ancient, interpretation of the so-called “global village”. No internet, no phone, no facebook. And yet Belvedere connects people, deeply, using the tools of Tradition (excellent tagliatelle with duck sauce – which I actually ate on Friday night! – lasagne with pesto, at Laura’s house, mascarpone cake at Ida’s house, and then home-made bread and porchetta at Caterina’s house, home-baked cake with home-made jam of “mele cotogne” at Maria Grazia’s house… just to quote a few examples!).
And on Sunday afternoon: a big feast in the square with the older people sharing stories about the village (the ghost of the Beato Ugolino knocking on the church wall at night, “Ciufle”, the one-eyed old man of the village who died fast because… “he just had one eye to close!”, and many other stories that make up history).
Yes, when I got home I felt I had dived into a present made up by past and future woven together (many children around dancing in the hall and eating chest-nuts). The inhabitants of Belvedere Fogliense: those are the real Lemon People I love.
Thank you all, thank you for existing and for giving me hopes for a better future (besides two extra kilos gained over the week-end!)