Sunday, 6 April 2014

10th March, 2014. The Parmesan atop a Plate of Pasta

In Italy there exists a saying, "like the parmesan on top of a plate of pasta", to express everything that is perfect. Yesterday I arrived at the mountainous valley of Schio to the light of a setting sun. At the train station I met my host, Giuliano (his website can be found here), with whom I prepared delicious macaroni. As I grated fresh parmesan onto my luscious plate, he told me of the saying.

Giuliano has a radiant face seasoned and creased by adventures, his voice sings of stories and out of his eyes twinkle journeys to be. He lives by the roots of his ancestors, in the attic of the mountains of Santorso, and works on the chipped slabs of his grandfather's sculpting studio in Schio. On his walls hang photographs of Cambodia, China, Ghana, Greece, India, Italy, all shots that originated from his own lens and expert eye. His travels have only made the love for his home land grow. With an unconditional smile he greets everyone that passes us by and with an enthusiastic melody he tells me the stories of the people of Schio.

That morning he drew churches and huts on a map of the town. “Alhora, here is my studio. You can wander and around lunch time, come and see me," he proposed, making a corner of the map with a little x. Dropped off at a park, I began to explore Schio for myself. Giuliano's stories made the town shine with meaning. Schio's factory was more than it's rugged brick walls, it was the foundation upon which the city was built and the life of the many generations. The local bar was no longer just a bar but the night club where a 1950s Austin rolled up to the sound of jazz and busy laughter. Old men now gather there to gossip and flip playing cards onto the lacquered wooden tables, the walls quilted with acrylic portraits of local customers.

After another magnificent plate of pasta by the expert hands of Giuliano, we chatted with an open front door to the view of the valley. He's had guests who after enjoying that view decided to buy a house in Santorso and settle among its stone streets. "I have thought of moving away from here to another corner of the world," he told me, "but every time I come back and see the view, I know there is no place more beautiful than where I grew up."

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