We are now in the middle of this 4 month European vacation, where we are staying for free in home exchange houses.
We are presently living in a quaint village called Rocca Di Mezza, in the mountains, about one hour’s drive from Rome. It is quite stunning here, and the fresh mountain air is making us sleep so very well. Like most Italians, we are living in an apartment or condo, with two bedrooms. It is neat, clean and comfortable, and has all of the amenities we need. On this trip, we were in villas in Turkey, and on the island of Syros in Greece, so this is not quite so spacious, but the surrounding scenery and local village people are wonderful.
Today, we drove to the nearby village of Raiano, which is 40 mins away, through the mountains. The villagers were celebrating their Cherry Festival.Was terrific. Lots of men, women and children, even the tiniest toddlers, dressed in bright, colorful local costumes and national dresses in the parade, dancing and singing and playing instruments. There was entertainment in the town square after the parade.
We bought some cherries at E3.50 per kilo, and some local fresh whole truffles (tartufi) for E2.50. We have just eaten some truffles with dinner and I can vouch for the taste. Absolutely to die for! If you are ever in these parts, I bought them from Azienda Agricola Damiani Gabriele, Via Aldo Moro 35 67021.
When we left, it looked like the festivities would go on well into the night, as there were lots of illuminations of cherries in the town square, which would be brightly lit. As we had to negotiate very windy mountain roads, we decided reluctantly to return home before dark.
This is one of the great things about home exchanges,we tend to visit many out of the way places that we would not normally even know about. Then we end up at festivities, such as the one we were at today, which was all local people, no tourists except us. No overpriced and over crowded tourist events, or events put on just for tourists. Today, like so many we spend while home exchanging, we were welcomed into a local village by local people, as they celebrated their annual festival. as they do every year. We feel so privileged on days like today!