A Friendship Waiting to Happen
Stefania met us at the door all-welcoming and happy to see us and led us inside. At the end of a long entry we emerged into a large square room that reminded me of a Roman peristyle with a twist, for though it had no pool or columned garden lining its periphery and was not open to the sky, the illusion of the openness of a classic Roman home's interior was maintained by a exterior glass wall overlooking the greenery of a deck in a room whose height extended two stories. As though the ceiling had been removed, and I think it had been, the perimeter of the open second level was fronted on all sides by a walkway edged by an overlooking railing flanked with bookcases and furniture. The entire space had a bright, restful, lived-in feel with touches of art including a piece I recognized from a Calitri master, Fulvio Moscaritolo (see Jan '08 Blog story Shaving Cream Serendipity). After a brief tour of their beautiful home, we sat and enjoyed refreshments of Prosecco and tiny squares of pizza in the "peristyle" and talked with Giuseppe while Stefania busied herself with other duties we assumed in preparation for the party later that evening.
We talked of wines, Calitri, politics and answered questions he posed to us, like "Why Calitri? as well as insights into our careers. Throughout, Giuseppe struck me as a comfortable man, comfortable with his life and everything about him - his wife, his son, his home and his profession. Erudite and in possession of a cool intelligence, he was also comfortable in sharing his opinions, though we'd only really just met. He was fortunate enough, no doubt from conscientious study and years of hard work, to have a life that afforded him the luxuries around him. When we'd briefly met in Calitri, it was his wife I recalled, not him, for he'd been quiet throughout our brief encounter. Unassuming, he chatted with us as if we were clearly familiar friends, clearly comfortable being with us. It was obvious that Giuseppe was relaxed around us as if he'd literally just plopped into a favorite soft chair and slid into comfy slippers. That relaxed. He came across as a down to earth character without a smidgen of self importance. Maybe it was a guy thing but there was a nexus, some sort of alchemy or connection between us for I saw a lot of myself in him. It started when I first learned he loved wine!