Wine tasting in Guardia Sanframondi

20130807-130702.jpgVinalia is 20 years old. The event dedicated to wine and food, taking place every summer in Guardia Sanframondi, in the province of Benevento, has now reached the maturity of an international fair, still keeping the flavor and charm of a local gathering.
Guardia Sanframondi is an old medieval town located in an area of Campania, named Sannio, which swarms with wineries and vine varieties. Guardia is very popular for the penitential rites that are held there every seven years, but it is also, like many other similar medieval towns in the region, mostly a ghost town, that lives again thanks to events like Vinalia or to weekend tourists coming from other cities of Campania.

I picked a Tuesday night to visit Vinalia. Not a bad choice, since the fair was definitely less crowded than usual and this allowed me to enjoy all the peace and cool air of the village.
For just 8 euros I could buy a pass to the two tasting options offered at the event this year: a wine tasting (four wines) and a food tasting (a plate of local cheese and cold cuts, plus three wines).

The wines I tasted weren’t really all that good, and they are not worth men20130807-132744.jpgtioning. With the exceptions of a Fiano produced by the winery Fosso degli Angeli, called Dulcis and a Falanghina produced by Torre Venere, called Sannio Falanghina.
It was hard to find any enjoyment in drinking the reds, but the town of Guardia Sanframondi helps in forgetting bad wines. Walking among the narrow alleys, up and down the stairs of the village is a constant discovery, as exciting as a journey in the past.
But the journey is characterized by cultural interactions and mixtures. There is no other way of defining indeed, the music offered that night at the event: a jazz trio with the vocalist Lady Laura playing swing and the French-Italian artist Sandro Joyeux, with his repertory of West African music mixed with reggae and a sort of “chansonnier” vibe.

Guardia Sanframondi remains a hidden gem to discover and Vinalia is still the perfect excuse to visit this remote village on a hill.


On falling from a Highway

That night I wanIncidente Irpiniated to get pizza with two friends. One of them had found good reviews for a place in Baiano. As we drove and got lost (it would have taken us a long time to find the “pizzeria”) we noticed unusual intense traffic on the road that from Nola goes to Baiano, and from which you can take the highway to Avellino.
That’s it. That’s how close I got to the tragic bus accident that last Sunday killed 38 people who were returning home in Pozzuoli, Naples, after a weekend trip to Telese Terme.
But when the morning after I woke up, and my mother told me about it, the first thing that came to my mind was how close I had been to the accident.
Not because I could have been part of it. No. Probably because my life had gotten close to that event, so terrible, that every one was talking about now on tv.

I always had this fear. I have definitely dreamed about it a couple of times. Falling off a bridge, a cliff, a viaduct, in a car. If I am not mistaken, in these dreams I am usually falling with my dad.
And it feels like something suddenly disappears in your stomach. No tragic ending in my dreams, though. The vehicle keeps falling for a long time, but never crashes on the ground.

After what happened last Sunday, I don’t think I am going to have these dreams anymore. It feels as if this televised tragedy has penetrated the collective imagery to the point that it can no more be part of the stuff of which dreams are made.
Maybe this is really what we mourn the most, when something like this happens: the collapse of fantasy, the disappearance of certain events from the realm of the imagination.

One of the strongest moments in the airing of the tragedy on television, has been the first interview to one of the survivors on television, a woman.
Her account of the tragedy was related in a state of complete shock, which could also be very similar to the liminal state between wake and sleep.

I transformed it into a poem:

Everything was ok
and beautiful
and fine
until we got to that road
I don’t know where.

We had to leave the hotel
and so we went to Pietralcina
for mass

and we were going back home
when I heard somebody say
we have a flat tire
well, the driver will stop and change it
I said

but it never stopped
and there were fires in the bus
it went faster and then we fell

me and my husband held
each other tight.
That’s the last thing I remember.