Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April showers

After the flurry of activity that comes to Monterosso in Easter, the few days after Pasqua (Easter) and Pasquetta (Easter Monday, also a holiday here) are very slow.  Coupled with a forecast that shows showers and more showers, the streets are empty and wet in the morning, and then sunny and empty in the afternoon.  Regardless, almost every restaurant is open, bars are full of clinking glasses, and guests wheeling luggage to the many hotels scattered across town. 

Save for the Cantina and Fast Bar, which should open this week, Monterosso is fully back to life, and it's lovely to see - even in the rain.

Besides damp streets and gorgeous grey clouds, the rain has brought another fun surprise. 

Giant bushes of wild rosemary have sprouted up on my walk home, and as I saw an old man, whistling aimlessly, snipping some sprigs to take home, I happily realized that this was a much easier shopping stop then walking all the way down the 147 stairs to the market.

Also, in the down time at the Restaurant, I've started really examining some of the art hanging on the walls.  The De Fina's have a great eye for decorating, and in the Restaurant, the Cantina and the Locanda, there are pieces of their history, which is more or less entwined with the history of Monterosso, scattered throughout.  Spindly, hand carved wooden chairs from Manuel's great-grandmother greet guests at the Locanda.  An old family typewriter was nestled in the grappa bottles at the Cantina.  And this photo, from the 1930's (best guess) hangs on the wall in the middle dining room at the restaurant.  It's of a wedding, and as I finally studied the photo, after having glanced at it what seems like hundreds of times, I realized that it was taken in front of the restaurant.  You can see the building that is attached to the Gigante statue in the back left, and the door and windows of the restaurant in the same places that they are now.  What is most interesting to me is the foreground, where you see the wedding procession passing over a little bridge over a river.  That's now Via Molinelli, one of the most severely damaged streets in Monterosso from the flood. 
With all this rain, it's another reminder that the streets were once bodies of water, and it's interesting to see a photo where bridges and canals laced the village where asphalt now covers and cars idle. 

Walking towards the tunnel and station on Via Fegina.  The Restaurant is on the right - you can see the door in the center flanked by two windows, and a man on the right standing on top of the bridge, now Via Molinelli.

The restaurant, last summer, taken from the front - Via Molinelli, on the right, is now a street, but the main windows and door are in the same place.
April showers bring many things, but reminders of things past - both recent at 70 years ago - are always around.

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