Friday, July 4, 2008

Grappa Your Lane

I am sitting in a marble chair overlooking the Mediterranean from the top of the cliff.  It’s still hot and my fingers are sticking to the keys.  The breeze is light but welcome. Music wafts across the ocean’s surface from the distant town and the not so distant beach resorts. Every small town closes at night to traffic and people of all ages flock from all around to enjoy each other’s company. I imagine little has changed here for a thousand year – except cell phones and the internet. My waiter just arrived and is bringing me a glass of red wine and a glass of water. 

We were guests tonight at a pre-award dinner for an international press prize being given tomorrow night to Timothy Nash – a writer for two London Newspapers.  We sat at his table and did get a chance to talk a bit about his speech for tomorrow night – and yes, it’s about Uncle Sam and Europe and that 6 billion people in the World are hoping that Obama wins.

Nuff said – I will give you the details on that tomorrow . The press prize was originally a Rizzoli prize, now the European equivalent to the Pulitzer.  We will sail by boat to a castle  on the other side of the island for the ceremony, and then sail back to a 1am dinner in town on the port. It’s a big deal on this side of the world.

We arrived on Ischia by way of Ferry – which we only caught by my superior tactical driving. It is a beautiful island, but squelched these past days by record breaking heat.  The ocean is still cool and a good swim. Our hotel is a restored 14th century fort on the cliff – over its own bay.  It has a beautiful view.

I’ve driven about 500 kilometers now around Rome and in the countryside. There is no such thing as lane integrity here. Often described as similar to red corpuscles racing through a small vein, traffic meanders in the whole road – and motor cycles and scooters usually double the speed limit. None of them actually wear their helmet. It usually sits on the head with one of the straps held tightly in the mouth.

Today was my first real work day – installing the sculpture exhibit this morning and this afternoon, shooting the opening at the Rizzoli gallery here. This is the Rizzoli of Rizzoli Publishing and Rizzoli Books. For here, we leave for the South of Italy – the boot – and then to Sicily and Palermo for another exhibit.

Grappa is an exclusively Italian spirit made from the fermented skins of wine grapes. I had a good lesson on how it all works – the best being an aged version made from Amerone Grape Skins and stored in oak for eighteen months. That’s the bottle I will bring home. I’ve fallen in love with Italy again.

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