Just over a week ago was the first weekend of June – a holiday weekend of sorts, we discovered, in Italy. We sure had some holiday experiences in Roviano!
Let’s start with Friday night. We arrived back on the train from Tivoli and the piazza was just hopping! It turns out that the pub at one edge of the piazza (about 50 metres from our house) had just opened after months of renovation – it was being renovated when we arrived back in early April and who knows how long it was closed before that. Big party in Roviano! There was lots of food, lots of 80s music, and lots of people with drinks spilling out into the piazza and up the steps and into the little piazza outside our house. Over the course of the evening more and more people, often with children in tow, came by the house on their way into the piazza. Were they all going to the pub opening? Hard to say. There might have been some other event that night, but regardless there sure were a lot of people celebrating having a new place to go to in town! Since then, Neil and I have gone for drinks there a few times. It’s kind of interesting how having the pub has altered the dynamics of the piazza in the pre-supper (between 5:30 and 8) hours; now there are younger people, different people, hanging out there too….
Okay, on to Saturday. Across Italy there is a religious festival centred around the Corpus Domini feast that takes place in early June called the Infiorata. This is also known as the flower festival where flower petals and other organic materials such as beans, coffee grounds, or wood shavings are used to create ‘living’ mosaics on roads and in piazzas used in the Corpus Domini procession (if you’re interested, more info can be found at here and here). Roviano participates in this too, and so on Saturday late afternoon and evening we saw people at work in the piazza – well, actually we saw a big sheet of what looked like white plastic in the piazza. Of course, we had no idea what the heck they were doing but all was revealed on Sunday, the actual day of the procession. It is amazing temporary art!
Aside from the fascinating Infiorata, on Sunday we had the pleasure of meeting the owners of the house we’re staying in. They happened to be in the area visiting family and wanted to meet us (curious, I’m sure, as to what the Canadians were like who were staying in their house for 2 months!). They didn’t have a lot of English, and we have even less Italian, but we were able to communicate with the assistance of one of their boys. What started out as a simple short visit, turned into a few wonderful hours. They took us to the Monastery of St. Benedict on the edge of Subiaco (about a 40 minute drive from Roviano and up up up a mountain). Amazing monastery, amazing frescos, and amazing views! The oldest portions of the building date from the late 12th/early 13th centuries and are built around the cave where St. Benedict meditated for three years. The best way I have to show you the monastery is through pictures; a good place for more information about it is here.
And as a fitting closure to our weekend, on the way back to Roviano we made a short stop to visit a hidden waterfall near the remains of Nero’s summer villa. A cool refreshing spot where people picnic and swim; a little bit of nature’s beauty in the Valle d’Aniene.