Jack and I aren’t sure how many nights we can go out at 9:30 and get home at midnight – and that was early for festa. This morning I asked Marilina at Bar Elimar how much sleep she got – she opens at 7:30. She said they closed the bar at 3:30 AM and she got 1.5 hours of sleep. Whew – I remember when I could do that, but I think sometimes I had the help of little blue — oh never mind. So how was the first night your wondering?
When we got into the center of Pontelandolfo at 9:30 PM there were still lots of places to park. Hmmm, thats not so good. People were slowly arriving and the show was supposed to start at 9:30! Of course as everyone tells me, this is Italy and nothing ever starts on time.
We walked through the small showing of bancarelle set up selling candy, panini, shoes – really – high end marked sneakers, probably knock offs, cleverly perched on the sidewalk – jewelry, toys and I can’t remember. I felt there weren’t a lot and a betting there will be more on the weekend.
Then I spotted the most amazing ride – the swing to your death ride – set up in a rear piazza. I dragged Jack through the alley to get there just in time to watch the swings held on chains swinging out into space and teams of riders pushing each other to grab the “horses tail” that was hanging from a high perch. If you didn’t kill yourself by falling out trying you won a FREE ride!
Little tykes were practicing on the miniature version of the death swing. Then I noticed parents – OK DADS letting their little boys get on the large death swing!
We got to Piazza Roma and saw that the night’s show was set up. This was the sexiest set up I’ve ever seen here. Great sound system, projections – the screen could have been larger, there was even a grand piano on the stage. We saw my best buds, Carmella and Alda, at a table with a perfect view of the stage and headed over. First things first, lets get some wine and find out what is going on.
Alda’s cute daughter came running over, she had taken a picture at Bar Mix Fantasy with PIF an MTV star! Later Gabrielle ran over with his camera, he had a picture too! Wait, Annalaura just posted a picture of PIF with her! Everyone was excited, I of course had no idea who PIF was or why he was here. So much for being current Auntie M.
Tonight’s show was titled VII edizione del Premio “Ugo Gregoretti – Landolfo d’Oro”. No one I spoke to was quite sure what the night was about. Only that it had happened in other years. I better do some research. The stage was set with a grand piano stage right and two lovely golden upholstered chairs stage left – think talk show set.
We were all a bit hungry and it was now 10:15PM the show wasn’t starting so we looked at our food options. Apparently the pork panini truck had great roasted pork, the Mini Market was selling nice looking prosciutto panini for €1.
Jack and Gennaro, Alda’s husband, said – “salsiccia!” Since we were sitting at Bar Elimar it seemed right to buy their sausage panini, cooked to order on crispy hard rolls – €2.50. Of course, one has to have a glass of Peroni Beer with that. Jack announced the sausages were better than the ones we had at a festa in Casalduni the week before. Yeah for the home team!
Suddenly, music filled the square, a full orchestra was surrounding us. The sound system was top drawer because the sound was from the video. Shots of the iconic Pontelandolfo tower whirled into introductions of the notables who would tonight be awarded Landolfo d’Oro. Yes I finally found out that it was a prestigious awards ceremony.
Beautiful red chairs were set up – real comfortable chairs, not the usual white plastic things Ii’ve seen here. This was a classy show. The video was slick and well timed to the music. I realized that while I had been drinking and eating tons of people had showed up. But why is this awards show happening here, in Pontelandolfo? Time for the back story.
Ugo Gregoretti, the driving force behind the event, is an award winning Italian film, television and stage director, actor, screenwriter, author and television host. His father once owned the iconic Pontelandolfo Tower and young Gregoretti spent his summers racing up the village’s green hills and has always had a special place in his heart for the Pontelandolfesi. He was not happy when his mother decided to sell the tower. According to one news report I found, he wanted to set up a foundation for the Tower so that the ancient portal could be open to all. I wish he had – hey – it’s not too late.
He donated his personal library to the town so that his personal and professional history could be preserved in the village he loved. Now, the library is closed – I wonder where this collection is? I want to see it – Harriet the Spy is back in business.
The award ceremony, “Ugo Gregoretti – Landulf D’Oro”, is now the cultural kickoff the the summer season. By bringing famous artists to Pontelandolfo and honoring them, Gregoretti is bringing the red carpet to our home town. This year’s honorees were art critic Achille Bonito Oliva, filmmaker and television writer Pif, the journalist Barbara Palombelli, the writer and the scriptwriter Giorgio Arlorio, and author Giussepe Furno.
NTR 24 has great video! Watch it and have good night – we’re getting ready for Festa – Night 2!