Slowing Down in Abruzzo
I took a quick scouting trip to Abruzzo this past October and as is so often the case when I visit Italy, I was reminded to slow down. In my eagerness to cover as much ground as possible on the last day of my trip, I nearly missed one of those “small moments” that reminds you that the world is still good and pure in so many ways.
That morning, my friend and tour partner Roberta and I decided to eschew an extra stop on our itinerary that would have left us rushed and with just a small block of time in the village of Borrello. Since we were early, we decided to stroll around this little town in southern Abruzzo, just a mile or two from the border of the Molise region. A gentleman with smiling eyes saw us wandering and asked if we needed help. We explained that we were just exploring and he asked where we were from. When I responded with New York, he became even more animated and told us he’d been there many times in his youth as a cook on a Transatlantic ship. We chatted for a while – he was a natural storyteller and spoke of his early journeys with easy nostalgia. He then asked if I would send him a postcard when I returned to NY so he could remember the shining lights of the big city. I took out my notebook and asked for his name and he said, “Domenico DiBenedetto” to which I exclaimed, “Anch’io mi chiamo DiBenedetto! – I’m a DiBenedetto too!” He let out a big bellow of a laugh and hugged me. His wife ran out of the house to see what all the commotion was about and he shouted to her, “Prepara il caffè! Qui abbiamo un DiBenedetto da New York – prepare the coffee! We have a DiBenedetto from New York here.”
How very glad I was that I slowed down.