Este in Fiore
Este members, all but one first-time visitors to Este, enjoyed several days of wonderful hospitality, fantastic food, and unforgettable vistas of Este and the Veneto. Bill Hatch, Khaki Berry, Sharon Amann, Clinton and Maureen Jones, and Kathryn Willis, were hosted with several families. (Milton Branch and his wife were supposed to come from Venice to join, but their plans changed, and four others dropped out just before we were to leave.)
We began the week with the official welcome by Este Mayor Roberta Gallana, and Vice Mayor Emilio Puato, and then gathered in the main square, filled with topiary (a piano and player, an Eiffel tower!), and took “official” pictures, along with our friends from Leek, England, and Tapolka, Hungary.
Kathryn set up a tourism booth for Fredericksburg at the Flower Festival, complete with photos of rural life around Fredericksburg, generously supplied by Penny A Parrish, Norma Woodword, Dawn Whitmore, Sue Henderson, and Judith Muffley. The quality of these photos, originality of composition, and subjects ranging from canoes in the river to cows and old barns, were showstoppers. Over a hundred Italian folks stopped by to look at the photos, and learned a lot about Our Fair City. It was a huge success! And their artwork will be displayed this fall in a photo show in Este!
In addition, the three students sponsored by the Rappahannock Rotary stopped by the display, once they found out that Fredericksburgers were in town, and thanked our group profusely and sincerely for the wonderful two-week exchange they enjoyed here last summer. Marta Sillo, Rachele Mantovan, and Ciara Frizzarin were chosen by the Este Rotary from dozens of applicants. We made a big difference in the lives of these incredibly smart and talented young women.
The Festival weekend brought thousands to Este, and viewing everything from chickens to cheesemakers, and from roses to herbs created a lively time within the medieval walls of Este.
During the week, lots of meals with families; lots of big dinners with our Este family and our new friends from Leek---who coaxed us into signing an “agreement” on a placemat that Fredericksburg would be the honorary sister city of Leek! What fun—you can see the laught
er in the pix.
We visited Arqua Petrarca, the home of Petrarch; saw lovely villas usually closed to the public—quite a treat, even for our Este friends; and also a day in Padua—Giotto chapel, great lunch, and excellent people watching in a lovely cityscape.
We also toured the Fontana Proscuitto facility, hosted once more by faithful friends Marcello and Paola—and lots of us bought some to take a little of Italy home with us!
As a special treat, we attended the operatic concert featuring our own Toni Maxine, who held her own amongst star Italian tenors and baritones—thrilling!!!
Grazie to all our Este partners and friends for helping to make such personal visits a reality—it truly is the best way to visit.