A brief visit to Avellino
Sunday, June 27
This 'in-depth' section covers myself and Jenn's quick visit to Avellino on June 27, during our trip. Many of my family relatives come from the Avellino region, and we thought it would be nice to pay them a visit (but not impose too much by staying overnight).
As mentioned in the main trip report, we broke off from Pu while we were visiting in Rome to head down to Avellino. The trip from Rome to Avellino was uneventful: down the Autostrada del Sole towards Naples, then, with the famous cone of Vesuvius visible in the distance, we branched off onto an autostrada heading into the forested peaks of the southern Appenine mountains, heading inland. The moderately-sized city of Avellino, spread out on the floor of the valley between these mountains, soon appeared. It had been five years since I'd last been, and it was nice to be seeing a few (and only a few, it being such a short visit) relatives again.
My Aunt Rosetta greeted us at the front gate of her house. She looked alert and nimble, and seemed very well indeed. We went up into her section of the house and spent a good hour having a chat (with much of that being myself trying to find the right Italian words for certain things - at one point, we got her to get out her dictionary). She remembered well that I used to drink a ton of milk when visiting with her as a little kid, and there was plenty of milk (with some tasty cookies) on hand this day.
We then went for a tour around the property, with Rosetta showing us what was new. Some grapes were finally starting to grow on some vines that were planted; the open spot down below where my cousin Giovanni may construct a house. We then sat for a bit, chatted some more about this and that: my cousine Joseph and how he recently burned himself; my other cousin Giovanni and his new baby boy Giovanni Andrea (exactly my name, incidentally!); and another cousine -- Paolo -- and the new 'Pastry factory' started by his wife, Gael.
Presently my cousin Giovanni showed up, with little Giovanni Andrea in tow. Giovanni is one of the cousins I remember best from when I was a kid. Full of life, not looking anywhere close to his more-than-sixty-years of age, Giovanni was and is always eager to show us around. With his partner, Filomena, they took us into the center of Avellino to visit at the aforementioned Pastry factory started by my cousin's wife Gael. The place is called 'Maga' (no website at the moment, but there's an article here
, and it is quite a modern operation.
Gael spent a bit of time with us on the 'shop floor', so to speak, of her outfit. Her english is quite good, and she showed us various high-tech ovens and other baking equipment. Half-finished experiments and ideas were scattered about. We came to understand that this place was about pushing the pastry envelope, about researching and coming up with innovations in the world of sweets. What a neat concept!
After our tour of the factory side of things, Gael brought us to the retail area, where Giovanni, Paolo and Filomena were chatting. She then proceeded to present us with a couple of sample plates full of varies types of pastries she had made. All of it was fantastically good.... but very filling!