|This is my Italy. Music & wine in strange locations.|
There is a fabulous thing in Italy, really and truly magnificent. It’s called ‘Cantine Aperte.’ It translates into English as ‘open cantine.’ Generally, you pay a small amount as entrance (5-8 euros, depending on the event), they give you a glass, and you get to go buck wild tasting as many wines as you want in as many places as you want. They also let you stuff yourself silly with traditional foods that are supplied aplenty, while listening to rollicking traditional music. That’s the general gist of it.
I’m a physicist, so let me provide you with this simple equation to make understanding easier:
|My darling Aunt demonstrating proper use of a wine glass at a Cantina Aperta|
|Pans full of the cabbage-bread-Fontina soup ready to be eaten by pub crawlers|
|All photos of us musicians squished together in a jolly manner, underground, amid wine and partygoers|
However, we eventually decided to take the party elsewhere. We played randomly in the streets, until we stumbled upon the best thing ever. Seriously.
Yes, a cave. In the center of town. It had an entrance a bit like any other building in an alley way, except it opened into a real cave. I don’t think it was dug out or anything, I think it was just there and they build this village around it, and others, thousands of years ago (not kidding…2000 years would be pretty accurate). But this cave was way more awesome than your average cave. It not only had hundreds of bottles of wine ready for everyone to drink, but some GIANT cheeses, waiting for us to eat. Like, man-size cheeses. Anyways, we marched in there, hopped up on some big rocks, and started playing our guts out amid the drunk and merry locals, man-sized-cheese, and endless bottles of wine. It turns out that caves have incredible acoustics.
|A giant cheese in the cave|
|Music, jolly Italians, cheese, wine, in a cave!|
Not content to leave well-enough alone, I was recruited on the street to join a band that was in search for a fiddler. They asked me if I played ‘populare’ music. I translated that as ‘pop’ music, so I responded that I used to play in some classic rock and punk bands as a teenager. They looked at me like I was a bit crazy. They proceeded to start playing some music that sounded a bit like some kind of traditional music, and people started dancing what looked to be some kind of traditional dance. It was simple enough, so I played along and jumped around while doing so, as I’m prone to do. I found out later that ‘populare’ means traditional music. Apparently they play traditional southern Italian music…so no wonder they thought I was a bit crazy when I told them I used to play in a punk band when they asked me if I played their music!
But, yes. If you can go to a cantine aperte, do so. Especially if you get to party in a cave.