The Grand Hotel in Trento, is a classy old hotel smack in the heart of the city. Delicious room, tasteful décor, scrumptious breakfast buffet, great drinks in the piano bar, and my precious Bill enjoying i there with me.
Trento was on our itinerary, not only because it is a beautiful city in the Italian Alps, but because we wanted to visit with my deceased husband Vittorio’s niece Concetta and her family who live just above the city in Piano di Sopra.
Unlike Teresa, who seemed content to leave us on our own during the day, Concetta, immediately assumed the role of tour director. That afternoon we walk through streets lined with Renaissance palaces, visit the Duomo and descend to the recently unearthed early Christian church beneath it; then sit and sip espresso at a small café on the main square. That night, Concetta’s entire family comes for supper: her two sons, their wives and children fill her small home. It’s all Italian conversation in Trento but we manage to chatter away, and Bill, with his smattering of Spanish and German, fits right in.
The following morning Concetta wants to take us north to Bolzano, so we set off, presuming she knows the way. It is only when we’ve passed an important exit for Bolzano, that we learn Concetta does not drive. She peers over the top of her glasses at passing signs and shouts “Di La!” at the last minute. “Di la?” Bill asks. Concetta does not say “a la destra” or “a la sinistra,” so Bill has no idea in which direction to turn.
Bolzano is a beautiful mountain town, with flowers everywhere, wooden balconies overlooking busy marketplaces bright with fruit, vegetable, cheese, and pastry stands. We have a lunch of beer and sausages in a German restaurant, then wander along the Lauben -- with its medieval arcades and expensive shops.
On the way back to the parking garage, I tell Concetta that I’m sure glad she’s with us because I was totally lost. “I think we are lost,” she moans. "I can't remember how to get back to the garage." The three of us burst out laughing and merrily inquire of passersby where that garage might be. Succeeding we return to Concetta’s house where she's prepared a feast: polenta with fresh fungi (mushrooms) grown by her son Lucca, local gorgonzola and Asiago cheese, and for dessert a chestnut and raspberry torte. Again, the entire family crowds round the table in her tiny living room.
Bill, who’d thought he’d only be meeting a few people in Italy, begins to count them. By the end of the trip he will have met 24 of Vittorio’s friends and relatives. Bless him!
© Beryl Singleton Bissell 2009