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Brian Fleck

Not born Sicilian

Walkin'

We arrived at my cousin’s place about 1:30 p.m., perfectly timed to share the late and expansive meal Sicilians have about two in the afternoon. A small, fun party was held that evening. The next day we traveled to the reception site, an elegant seaside resort about an hour’s drive along the coast, to help tie ribbons on the chairs in the already elegantly decorated banquet room. My guess is that Suzzie’s to-do list for the wedding ran to about 100,000 and this was number 979,533 or something.

Vic the Sicilian

Walkin'

Victorio Tripoli was the youngest boy in a family of three girls and three boys raised in Bagheria, Sicily.
His mother gave birth to all the children at home, and in Sicilian tradition they were named after relatives. Victorio was name after his uncle, who was a mechanic. Until his uncle passed away, family called him Victoruccio (little Vic). The naming was foretelling as Vic liked working on cars, and as a child helped out in his uncle’s shop.

Final days in Rome

walkin'

Ancient walls flanked us as we rolled out of Rome and then into Acquedotti Park. Here we passed along the remains of Aqua Claudia, an aqueduct commissioned by the Emperor Gaius in 38 A.D. Gaius is also known as Caligula. He is infamous, among many things, for ordering his guards to throw an entire coliseum section of the crowd into the arena during intermission to be eaten by animals because he was bored.

Lake Gandolfo

food for thought

“That’s why there’s fence,” our guide Emanuele pointed to a pile of rocks across the trail in front of us, “there’s, how do you say in English, avalanches in this area.”
The area was on the shore of Lake Gandolfo, about 15 miles southeast of Rome. Among the 8,000 residents that live near the lake are two rather famous ones: Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis (in the summer).

Luck and love in Rome

Walkin'

Our second bike tour, a panoramic cruise of Rome, began at 5 p.m., and we were determined to use public transportation to get to the start.
With the help of several strangers, we were able to get on the correct bus, transfer twice onto the correct trains and select the correct direction to walk from the last station to the tour beginning. As I’ve attested many times in this space, Sabra and I have made getting lost into an art so it was with some gratitude for blind luck that we arrived at the beginning of the bike tour two hours early.

Driving, Italian style

Walkin'

There are no traffic laws in Italy, just polite suggestions.
It’s like going to a tavern and ordering a Margarita. The bartender might suggest Jose Cuervo, but he won’t think twice if you ask for Don Julio.