We are back in Cervinara after a long absence and it is just like coming home!
After an uneventful flight to Paris and a short hop from Paris to Naples, we were the first to get our luggage and were on the road within 20 minutes. This was a record! It was lovely to see all the in-laws, nieces and nephews, but then it was time for us to take our car and head east into the mountains of the Valle Caudine, where our home away from home awaited us.
Not much has changed in the old town; the same faces smiled at us as we drove up the long hill, the baker still waved us on as he checked for oncoming traffic, the barista at our local circolo greeted us with big hugs. But there was something new and unexpected on the horizon….
In the vacant lot where many of the houses destroyed in the 1999 flood used to be, there was a huge stage set up, with spotlights, amplifiers, and techs doing sound checks. We found ourselves in the middle of the “Non solofolk” music festival, an event organized by a variety of very talented people dedicated to the eradication of prejudice, the celebration of music, and the remembrance of those lost in that tragic event of 14 years ago. As is always the case when there is any kind of street festival, the whole Ioffredo neighborhood was lined with vendors of food, beverages, toys, t-shirts and other mementos. Festival attendees had pitched tents in the woods behind the concert venue and port-a-potties were lined up in a corner of the piazza. The joint was jumpin’!
This would normally be a great opportunity for us to be out and about, schmoozing with the neighbors and enjoying some sausages and beer. But with a major case of jetlag hanging over our heads, I was none too happy at this turn of events. And indeed, I was right to be worried. The program was scheduled to jump off at 9, but sound checks and setting up didn’t end until 10 pm. The music started just as we were ready to crash into bed. I am not exaggerating when I say that from our bedroom balcony, we could see the lights, hear the crowds, not to mention the music. It blasted non-stop from 10-1:37 am. I know the exact moment because I was awake and watching the clock, counting the minutes for the Red Hot Chili Peppers clones to finish their last set. None too happy, rest assured!
Saturday….same scenario. Only this time we knew what to expect and we closed up all our windows and turned on the fans to keep some air moving. This helped to muffle the head-bangers’ ball music somewhat, but not nearly enough. Again, the music finished at almost 2:00 am, and this time we had a 5:00 wakeup call so we could get on the road for our drive to “alt’italia”. I managed to cobble together a couple of hours of very restless sleep and by 6:30 wewere on the road again.
So now, we find ourselves outside of Modena, in a very nice hotel, and at 6:30 in the evening I can’t wait to lie down and close my eyes! The restaurant opens at 7:30 and we will be there with bells on to get the earliest dinner possible only to go back to our rooms and pray for a good night’s sleep. I’m getting desperate!
That said, it was nice to see our old neighborhood so lively and full of excitement. More and more outsiders are coming to recognize what Cervinara has to offer, and this event certainly will help with the revitalization efforts in town. I don’t want things to change too much….the old ways are fine with me, but knowing that a new generation is learning to enjoy the simple pleasures of our hills ensures a vital and lively Cervinara for years to come.