Paul and I Exploring the Castle – Barbiano di Belgiojoso D’Este
Lunch with Paul, Daniele, Frederico & Guiseppe!
Welcome back to my blog and the last episode as I tell you about my Italian trip. After a very full Sunday, Paul and I were looking forward to having a lay in on the Monday morning after our shows in Graffignana. This was very much needed. We weren’t due out until 12.00 noon which gave us the time we needed to recharge our batteries so we would be bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to meet our hosts at noon.
Last year on our day off Paul and I visited Milan, the La Scala opera house and the cathedral Duomo di Milano. On this occasion we felt we wanted to stay a little closer to Graffignana and see something of the surrounding towns and countryside. So this time we visited the castle of San Colombano after first being taken to lunch at the Trattoria Giardino restaurant. Paul and I had had the pleasure of dinning there once before last year for my birthday so it was lovely to return and we were treated to a wonderful selection of Italian dishes.
Afterwards we went for a stroll around the grounds of the castle which during the second world war was occupied by the Germans. Now they often use the court yard
space for concerts and fairs and while we were there the staging was still in place. Of-course I
Out and About in San Colombano!
Barbiano di Belgiojoso D’Este!
couldn’t resist trying it out as I sang O Mio Babbino Caro to all our Italian friends.
It was such a lovely day and as we were walking around I thought it would make the perfect location for a picnic only little did I know that I would turn out to be lunch as I got bitten by loads of mosquitoes. 17 times on my legs in fact, as we then all dashed off to the pharmacy for cream and anti repellent spray. It never occurred to me there would be mosquitoes in October this late in the season especially as we weren’t by water. But then just like my father, I’m allergic to these nasty pests . The little blighters only went for me, nobody else in our party, as they did their best to drink my blood and eat me alive.
After coating my legs in cream our next engagement of the day was to visit to the Pallai WW2 museum. Our friend Daniele has been collecting WW2 artifacts for many years and he now he has a small museum which houses mostly uniforms documenting the British, American, Italian and German campaigns. It’s a wonderful collection and when you look at the size of some of these uniforms people were certainly much
In side the Pallai Museum!
Tea with Benito Mussolini!
smaller than they are today. One of the uniforms Daniele has in his collection was found by chance stuffing the cushion of an old chair. Back then these uniforms and artifacts were of little interest but now they are of great historical importance and it’s good to know that there are people like Daniele who are preserving these items for future generations to understand.
My favorite item was a photographic album taken by a German officer of his time in Paris during WW2. I found this album very interesting as all the shots were of the officer off duty enjoying the sights just like any tourist would today. There were some great candid photographs showing the officer in his room looking out over Paris from his balcony which really caught my eye.
Afterwards we were all invited back for tea with Mussolini and just like Maggie Smith in the film I poured and played the part of mother!
For our final evening in Italy Paul and I joined our friends for dinner at the Il Gandulin restaurant in Belgioioso. It was a special evening as it gave Paul and I a chance to celebrate our birthdays together with all our Italian friends as we all sat
Happy Birthday at Il Gandulin!
Flying Home to Blighty!
down to another wonderfully cooked dinner.
Of-course all good things have to come to an end and by Tuesday it was time for us to fly home to Blightly. I’ve always loved Italy and the Italian people ever since I first visited Rome back in 1988. I certainly hope this wont be my last visit to Italy and I know Paul and I are both looking forward very much to meeting up with all our friends from Graffignana when we return to Normandy next June.
Paul and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our host Guiseppe for his fantastic hospitality and to his family and friends for helping to make this trip possible especially for making us feel so very welcome.
This coming weekend it’s Trafalgar Day on Saturday 21st and by change I will be down in Portsmouth so I don’t know if the Navy will be doing anything special to celebrator. As you might imagine I’ve been out performing Wren shows this week to tie in with the date and when I get back I’m off on Wednesday to perform at Mill Hill and Pinner Synogogue’s but more on that in my next blog.
Keep Following and Toodle Pip for Now! 😉