Mid july, on my last days in the Marche region in Italy, I found myself warmheartedly adopted by the family of Marcello. He and his parents, uncle, aunt and great-aunt live together in a large three level house on the outskirts of a small town near Ancona. With every family branch on a different storey, most of the living is done communally on the first floor. Eating, drinking home made wine, watching the news, chatting.
On many evenings his sister, her husband, different cousins, nieces and nephews join the table. Marcello’s family owns a vineyard where his uncle, aunt and parents spend a lot of their time taking care of the grapes and creating lovely wines and grappa. If, of course, his aunt and mother are not occupied in the kitchen creating the most delicious meals.
Marcello’s great-aunt, the mother of his aunt, needs some extra care. Her memory is not what it used to be. Fortunately, her children found a way of taking care of her together. During the summer time she stays with Marcello’s family. But when the busy harvest season starts, she moves to one of the other couples, nearby, into a different house. Somewhere during the year, she moves again. This way, as Marcello put it, every family takes its share in caring while it never gets too much.
My first thought, that it could be quite challenging for her to get used to a new house every trimester, faded immediately when I looked at her, sitting at the big dinner table, and thought about what she was part of: a close, loving family. And she could eat (at least 4 months a year, that I know of) the BEST food in Marche, with a dash of home made wine in her glass of water at every meal.
(From l-r) Marcello’s Dad, Great Aunt, Mom, Sister, Brother in law, Uncle, Aunt, Niece, Me, Marcello