Dinner Italian Style con Vino, Cibo & Amore!

Eight years ago, the Lynches lived next door to the Basiles, Mario and Assunta, on a side street outside the medieval walls of Viterbo, Italy. Mario always chatted with us, gave the boys a ball to kick around and generally made us feel at home. Assunta invited me over for coffee one morning, and we chatted, with the help of a dictionary, which wasn't all that necessary. Facial expressions and intonations can go a long way in the business of communicating. So, since that first year, we've seen the Basiles and their extended family every year. Once, even at their beach place in Tarquinia (an Etruscan town one hour southwest). The meals are the same in one regard: lots of laughter among the uncles, aunts and cousins; lots of food; lots of homemade wines, and fruit soaked in the wine; espresso; bread; grilled meat and vegetables; and, naturally, a pasta course!  Alessia, Mario's granddaughter, spent a year at an American high school in Kentucky in 2013 and spent a week of that year with us in Winchester.

Sunday night at 7 pm, after our weekend in Florence, we arrived in Vitorchiano (near Viterbo) to dine at the home of Alessia's parents, Roberto and Emanuela. The following is how we spent the next several hours.
Before.  (This is where they eat Christmas dinner. The table is ONE table. The room, on the lower level of the house, has a kitchen, as does the street level. Italian-American style! I guess it started here : )
After. (Well, more like During.)
Zia Alessandra & Iliana (Alessia's cousin)

Mario & Alessia

Antonella & Mama Assunta

Emanuela & Sister Alessandra

The cousins!  Owen, Henry, Alessandra, Iliana, Georgia & Leonardo.

Cousin Iliana, Uncle Emilio, Cousin Georgia, Uncle Roberto, Henry & Uncle Mauro. I'm calling them cousins and uncles and aunts as they are that to Alessia :)

Fred & Roberto

Roberto makes his own liqueurs from lemons and oranges he grows in the yard!

Until next year, Basile family! And thank you, thank you, thank you for welcoming us into your hearts and homes, year after year. Al prossimo anno!