Sunday, October 01, 2006

Verona's Tocati - International Festival of Street Games 9.22-24.06

We returned home on Friday evening from our visit with friends in Cortona and remembered that there was a festival going on right here in Verona! Our landlords Laura and Giorgio had given us a brochure last week and told us about this festival where they played games - like hopscotch and horseshoes - throughout the streets of the city and how much fun it was. Friday was the start of the festival but we were much too tired to participate. But after a good night's rest and a late breakfast we were ready to join the fun. And in fact we spent all day Saturday and again on Sunday enjoying this event. The weather was gorgeous. Everyone was out having a good time. We love these festivals that engage the entire community and are completely non-commercial with no other motive than to provide the residents a great reason to come out and appreciate the city they live in and have a good time.

We found a place to park the car (it's only about a five minute drive to centro from Borgo Roma where we live, but too far to walk) and set out to find the action. It didn't take much as they had all these game areas set up throughout the city and you could just walk around and see what was going on. There was also a "Ponte Postumio" - a sort of bridge made of a series of white kite-shaped flags stretched across the River Adige in memory of a bridge that had once stood on this spot that was destroyed by one of the world wars that wreaked havoc on the beautiful city. There were large inflatable rafts ferrying people down the river and places to taste local products and wines. Families were out in force from the nonnas to the tiny babies, participating in antique and modern games played in the streets. It was so much fun. The country of Spain was their guest of honor this year and we stopped to listen to a group of musicians play traditional music from the Aragona region of Spain and I was even pulled in from the sidelines to join in the dance, which I loved. After seeing some of the brochures with gorgeous photos of Spain, we think a visit to that country has to be in our future.

We talked with a family from a nearby city as we waited in line for our lunch. This is one of the best parts of being able to speak the language. It's just so much fun to speak to the Italians in their own language and learn about their lives and culture firsthand.

We will let the photos speak for themselves and tell you what we saw as we walked around our beautiful city of Verona, which has indeed worked its way into our hearts and become another favorite place.

Thanks for reading!
Rosemary and Bob

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