l’boo & l’bo (both gross and adorable). The impetus for this trip.
Assisi is the town where Lorenzo’s family is from. On Friday afternoon, the day before the wedding, Lorenzo was generous to give everyone who wanted to join a walking tour of Assisi up to La Rocca. After our 2.5-hour lunch at the Trattoria Pallotta (a feat it was indeed to keep Ari occupied and reasonably content that long), Aurelia decided to cleanse her prosciutto-laden palette with grass at the top of La Rocca. As we neared the end of our wipe supply getting the dirt out of her mouth, we decided to plop her down on an old wine cask to keep her out of trouble.
Each guest was given a goodie bag complete with a bottle of local olive oil and these:
Of course, John being John, he wanted to check off AS MANY BOXES AS POSSIBLE. We tried, we did what we could, we loved every minute.
The wedding service was held at Lorenzo’s mother’s favorite church Santo Stefano, a simple and exquisite 12th century church built in the Romanesque style, with gothic arches and a wooden ceiling. One of my favorite parts of wedding event was right before the ceremony. Everyone, including Lorenzo, waited outside the church on the cobblestone streets for Lauren to arrive. There was an audible inhalation when Lauren turned the corner and emerged at the top of the stairs approaching the church. She and Lorenzo met and entered the church together.
The wedding was a full mass, in Italian. I sheepishly snuck in the back for easy escape access, and I was relieved to see a cluster of small children and their parents also huddled toward the rear. Next to the church was a small courtyard complete with olive trees and grape vines. Someone involved was brilliant and had set out a table with a pitcher of water and glasses, and at one point or another, it seemed like every child under eight made an appearance to release some energy. Personally, it was nice to talk with some other parents, and of course always fun watching Ari interact with other children.
After the ceremony, Lorenzo and Lauren rode to the reception in style. The rest of us walked the short distance–we felt like we were part of a parade through Umbria!
The celebration that awaited us at the Giotto Hotel was spectacular. Prosecco was flowing when we walked onto the terrace, and every turn revealed another table generously decked with mouth-watering Italian cuisine: cured meats; seafood; cheeses; fantastical salads; freshly baked focaccia; roasted vegetables; figs, melons, and other fruit; and more appetizers than I could possibly try. Perhaps the most awesome was the giant wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano–I kid you not, it was at least four feet wide–sliced in half and then partially carved such that it looked like an enormous orchid blooming. And our sweet daughter, already getting sleepy but beside herself surrounded by her most favorite foods, rallied with the best of them.
My only regret of the evening was that I didn’t completely overstuff myself on the gran buffet di aperitivi e antipasti, for I unfortunately had to depart prior to the secondi piatti (I’m still unreasonably disappointed that John didn’t sneak out the beef fillet in a pistachio crust, as classy as that would have been, for me to consume late that night). We sat down to the “first course” a little after 9pm. We were honored to get to share a table with the bride and groom, with Ari happily enjoying pasta and risotto until close to 10pm, when she finally made it known that she could not make it a moment more. But the hour we spent getting to see up-close how happy our friends were/are, watching them relax as they started to enjoy breaking bread with loved ones–we’ll never forget it.
John walked us back to our room a few blocks up the hill, and then returned to enjoy the rest of the celebration. Ari quickly passed out and, though I was sorry to miss the rest of the evening’s festivities, I sank into the mattress with my kindle (finally reading Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants–wahoo-wah! Uni-V-Virginia!).
The next morning we all walked to the cemetery where Lorenzo’s mother is buried. Together, Lauren and Lorenzo left Lauren’s bouquet at her grave. It was intimate, and a beautiful and thoughtful way to include her and conclude the weekend.