What happens when two travel/foodie/photography bloggers finally meet face to face? Well, they discuss story ideas, writing styles and camera techniques, and then they get married.
Yep, Saturday morning, July 16th at 11:00, following a 2.5 year courtship that began innocently enough on the steps of Villa Poiana — one of the 24 country estates designed by Andrea Palladio, the High Renaissance master builder — Orna O’Reilly, of Orna O’Reilly: Travelling Italy, and I, a.k.a. The Palladian Traveler, tied the knot, joined our respective https:// together so to speak, inside the old Fascist tower-residence, Il Fascio, that now serves as the town hall for Cinto Euganeo, our township in the province of Padova in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy.
It was an intimate civil ceremony attended by a few family and friends as well as curious onlookers. Like the local pharmacist, who just had to be there to witness our hitchin’ firsthand and then describe it in great detail later in the day while doling out pills, elixirs and other remedies to any client willing to listen, and they all were.
Believe me, our marriage was, and still is, big news for residents living in these hills. Just think, two foreigners — an Irish Colleen and a Yank — pick their tiny little corner of the Bel Paese to take each other’s hand in marriage. For the moment, we felt like Mary Kate Danaher and Sean Thornton from The Quiet Man. No horse and buggy though, just Orna’s little panna cotta-colored Fiat 500. BEEP-BEEP!
The bride-to-be, escorted by her son, Myles, was absolutely stunning in her L.K. Bennett “Rania” dress, and I cleaned up pretty well, too, in a Capri blue, two-button suit by Canali. We were dressed to the nines, and why not?
The civil ceremony, in Italian and English, took place in a large meeting room used by the mayor and his giunta.
Sitting in high-back chairs surrounding an antique wooden table, decorated with a large floral arrangement of white carnations, roses and gypsophila (baby’s breath), we listened attentively to Dr. Filippo, the presiding local government official — wearing the formal tricolore sash and fronting three flags representing the Veneto, Italy and the European Union — as he read from his prepared text the three articles of the Italian Civil Code, including Article 147 which reminds couples of their responsibilities as parents to properly protect, care and educate any of their children ages 12 and under.
We two pensioners, with adult offspring in their thirties and forties, just glanced at each other and chuckled; doubtful any babies will be born on our watch.
Rings exchanged and documents signed, we’re finally pronounced husband and wife and given the green light for “The Kiss.”
After a lengthy photo op, Mr. and Mrs. Weber, that would be us, hopped into the aforementioned Cinquecento and led a parade of cars to the “fat” portion of our momentous day: a divine, multi-course lunch at Agriturismo-Enoteca Al Peraretto, our fave kitchen in the tiny hamlet of Faedo, nestled inside the Parco Regionale dei Colli Euganei (Regional Park of the Euganean Hills).
Valentina Ongaro, the Euganean Hills’ first-ever agrichef, poured all of her culinary skills into a mouthwatering menu that had Orna and I and all our guests applauding every course.
A welcome buffet of a variety of canapés and flutes of bubbly Serprino were taken outside on the patio in full view of the picturesque hills and vineyards. CIN CIN!
Inside, our party of 26 took their places around the table and dined on a duet of antipasti, a duet of pasta and a main course of marinated pork fillet uniquely served in glass jars, and all paired with Al Peraretto’s Pinot Bianco and Cabernet Sauvignon. SALUTE!
I delivered a short speech chronicling how the two of us — a couple of well-traveled romantics of similar vintage with so much in common that it’s almost frightening — grew into each other and fell in love.
Orna then thanked all in attendance for coming — from Phoenix, Dublin and Rome, and nearby from the Vicenza and Padova provinces — and we presented each guest with a bomboniere, the traditional Italian wedding favor, decorated with a sprig from an olive tree branch, symbolic of Villa Allegra, our new-home build well underway near Ostuni, and the many olive trees we plan to plant and nurture.
I dolce nuziale (wedding cake), a Bavarian cream of mascarpone and fresh fruits called Il Giardino Estivo (The Summer Garden), was ceremoniously cut by gli sposi (newlyweds), then plated for our guests.
But wait, there’s more.
Right after the cake, we all enjoyed a trio of taster-sized desserts: a peach cheesecake, a white chocolate and raspberry frosted hemisphere, and a Bavarian hazelnut. And all the sweets were pleasantly paired with glasses of Fior D’Aranco, the hallmark bubbly moscato wine of the Euganean Hills. AUGURI!
Our journey began on the steps of a Palladian villa and flourished in the Euganean Hills, but soon Orna and I will take flight from the Veneto and begin our new adventure in the sun-drenched, laid-back Salento in the southeastern corner of the Bel Paese, land of olives, vino rosato and two seas. Hopefully, we’ll just pick up where we left off, seated around la tavola happily engaged in conversation and enjoying regional fare that we’ll, no doubt, photograph and blog about.
And the honeymoon, you ask? Well, that’s another story to be written soon. Suffice it to say the newlyweds enjoyed a romantic interlude in the Valdobbiadene, home to one of Italy’s signature exports: Prosecco.
VIVA GLI SPOSI!
©The Palladian Traveler