I see our visits to Italy as an essential part of my kids’ upbringing, because their father is Italian, because half their family is Italian, because I want their cousins and uncles, and the fishmongers and the horses that go around town showing the tourists every year to be tattooed in their subconscious, so that when they are older and visit Italy, a country where they will probably never live in, they will feel a part of it, or rather, they will feel that it is a part of them.
We have a few traditions like going back to Mugoni beach and getting Rafaello from the bar delle ninfe to save us a couple of chairs by the tree so we’ll have shade when it gets too hot. The same tree that my kids have been climbing since they could walk. My daughter only comes down to swim. There is the Zio Franceso selling fresh coconut at ridiculous prices to the tune of
“Coco del amore, ti rinfresca il cuore”
my kids run to the sound of that tune screaming "coco!"
Lunch for us consists of tomatoes so red they are obscene, fresh mozzarella and rocket that is so strong it is almost spicy. It is the heavy southern sun that makes the vegetables and the fruits so wonderful here. The kids for the most part eat pasta, every day, I gave up on that battle a while back, I figured they can survive 10 days of only pasta a year, and my mother in law just cannot see why eating pasta could ever be a bad idea.
We visit trouble’s godfather in his country side home, a large family gathering with more plates and sweets that anyone could hope for, that is, except for the kids that have grown to expect it. They get presents, pick fruits and vegetables from the garden, and come back home sick to their stomachs but happy.
There is the afternoon passeggiata by the bastione, the old medieval wall overlooking the sea, with the obligatory stop by Ciro for ice cream, the best ice cream in the entire world.
For dinner we eat fish on the terrace that overlooks the port and watch lazily as the sun sets. The fish is fresh from that morning’s early walk to the fish market, (the one I get to sleep through). This year they kids managed to charm the guy every morning, bringing back free crabs which they initially intended as pets, but ended up as part of the gnocchetti sauce. I can't eat them for the life of me (although I love the sauce), but my kids clearly have no problem pulling the little legs apart. It appears that they are indeed Italian...