On Sunday April 6th, I joined some local friends, who had invited me to go with them to Slow Food Day in Gragnano. I had no idea what to expect or what I was in for when they picked me up. We started at Castello Lettere where we had some fresh milk and snacks. We then hiked up the very steep hill, where there is a small cave at the top. There were a ton of people going up to the cave, from all walks of life; from the Mayor of Gragnano, to rock climbers, to children and elderly women in high heels. I was fully immersed into the Italian culture. We met a gentlemen on the walk up who was making us flutes out of the tree branches. After we came down from the cave, we returned to Castello Lettere where they were playing traditional folk music and dancing. My friend informed me that most of the Italians that were at Slow Food Day had never seen an American before, which explained why everyone was looking at me. When the Italians realized there was an American, they began to bring us large plates of fresh cheese, and bread and bottles of wine. They were utterly welcoming, giving and extremely nice. The “Bee Man”, who collects and sells fresh honey was there as well. We spoke with him for a long time. He was an extremely interesting person with a wealth of knowledge on bees. Up to this point, the day was unbelievable, little did I know what we were doing next.
When we left Slow Food Day we stopped at a local pizza shop in Gragnano and picked up some pizzas. We then drove almost to the top of Monte Croche, where we then hiked the rest of the way to the very top. It was the mot beautiful view I have ever seen. As we sat at the top of Monte Croche and looked down at the Bay of Naples and the surrounding cities, I couldn’t help but be grateful to be here, in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. After we finished eating and hung out for a while, we started our trek back down the mountain. As if the day wasn’t amazing enough, we stopped and spoke with the goat shepherd that has an entire herd of goats on the to of the mountain. He was the kindest man and offered us homemade wine. When we told him how delicious it was, he tried to give us the entire jug, which we kindly denied. This was a day for the books, and will be appreciated and remembered for the rest of my life.