I will tell you up front that we did NOT meet any Barone family members. We may have been close. We will never know.
The car we rented was a VW Golf. Nice car. Had warning beepers when you get too close, front, back and both sides. This car was NOT meant for Naro, Sicily.
Once again I got ahead of myself…
We left Marsala (and all that floating DNA) for Naro. The drive was around two hours. We were happy for the opportunity to explore more spectacular scenery while dodging Italians behind the wheel. We managed to do both.
We finally saw it…NARO! A shining village perched on top of an exquisite hill. Just like in the storybooks.
Our GPS, Missy, was set for Barone Autocarrozzeria. When we arrived at the location we couldn’t see it. We parked the car and spotted two gentlemen and a waitress chatting in the doorway of a local eatery. We asked them if they knew where the Barone Auto place was (more pointing and hand gestures). They pointed across the street, we walked over, but all we saw was this…
“Must be on the other side of the building”, we thought. So, around we went and…no…nothing. Back around the three were still chatting and watching us. I pointed to one of the doors and they shook their heads. We went to the next door…They shook their heads no again, but looked hopeful pointing to the next door. Didn’t look like an auto place to us, or for that matter, any kind of business place at all. Jane nor I are easily daunted. We have already proven that. So across the street to the trio we went. Here’s how we understood the next attempt at conversation.
Us: “Are you sure that’s the Barone Garage?” Waitress:“Yes, it was.” Us:“Was?” Waitress:“Yes, they moved a long time ago.”
We just sort of stared at them for a minute. Thanked them for their “guida” and once again went on our merry way. We laughed about that at least once a day, everyday, for the remainder of our journey. I don’t think we improved the image of American intelligence one bit on that little stop.
Jane remembered pictures of Piero in front of St Erasmus Church. So, we shifted our goal and the car and off we went up the village hill. The further up we got the narrower the roads became until there were mere inches on either side of the car and the warning beepers were going off in tandem! Jane had to squeeze out of the car twice to guide me between stone buildings. The second time was when we came to a dead end and I had to back down a steep narrow hill. WILL THOSE BEEPERS NEVER STOP!?! I heard a distinctive crunch. I had visions of my 1200 dollar deposit flying out of the car window. Then Jane yelled, “it was a plastic bottle!” Whew! Just then I had another vision. It was me trapped inside the car wedged between buildings and the villagers were pointing and laughing at another American tourist, in a rental car, trying to drive their village streets. Then Jane would be scrambling for the “jaws of life” or a crowbar or at least a can opener to try to pry me out.
Here is one of the wider two-way streets. When it got really narrow pictures were not our main priority!
If I told you even some of the things I said during that little drive this post would be a whole lot longer. I later apologized to Jane for some of the words I’m not telling you that I said. All Jane really said that entire tense time was, “Piero, Naro is certainly narrow”. Oh, she said it more than once.
We finally found our way down the hill and out of Naro only to discover that tonight’s reservation was back up the hill. We took a vote and it was two to zero (Missy refused to vote) NOT to trek back up to the village.
Piero, we didn’t make it to meet your family, but the age and beauty of your narrow little village and the surrounding country blew us away!
A mile or so down the road, in the middle of nowhere, we found this oasis:
When we checked in I gave the manager our card he turned his CD on to “L’amore Si Muove” and told us that Ignazio stays there when he comes to visit Piero. (Whats the matter big boy? Afraid to drive those roads too?) When we got to our room I turned to Jane and said, “Ignazio could have stayed in this very room. Could have slept on this very bed!” I soon rolled around on that bed…just in case. By now I should have gathered enough DNA to make my very own lovely tenor.
We had dinner in this stunning restaurant of our Oasis. We were the only ones in the entire place.
Oh, those warm, friendly and so lovable Italians! The owner, Franchesca, her son, our waiter and the cooks all came out to meet the crazy lost American women. Several of them were dreaming about coming to America to work. You know, “America…land of plenty…Land of Ilvolovers… land of wide roadways”.
It was hard to leave such a gorgeous place and its wonderful people, but we must return the car to Palermo and ourselves to Naples to catch a train for our next destination…The Cinque Terre’s…Riomaggiore and Portofino…The Italian Riviera…