70 YEARS AGO ...
I was fifteen when I decided to leave for Turin. I wanted to know the world, feel new scents and see different landscapes. I wanted to feel free to make my own choices. In the countryside there was only work, awake at dawn amid the screams of my mother and the threatening gaze of my father, accompanied by the impatience of my grandfather, who clocked my delay, stamping his foot against the floor, with his arms folded. . In the countryside, there were only returns at sunset on the back of the donkey, stories around the fire, eating bread-olives and focaccia before the harvest.
Despite those monotonous and always the same days, in my eyes father there was always a lit spark. He said it was the spark of memory. I too had memories - at least so I thought - but my spark was lit far from my homeland.
One day I was at home, in the city that my mother never dared to call "Home". I took a slice of bread, slightly hard ... but our Apulian bread is good even this way. I poured over our oil, yellow like gold, obtained from hand-picked olives, selected one by one and pressed overnight. I took the slice to my mouth and .. the story starts again from here. At that moment, I saw her. I saw the spark of memory: when at lunch with the family, I wanted to season the dish of legumes with just a tablespoon of oil. “It abounds, it abounds until it overflows”, my grandmother said, almost annoyed by my gesture so little from Puglia. That day, I brought back to my lips, but above all to my heart, my land, unique in the world in the art of olive growing.
After 70 years from that memory, the spark has never gone out. It shines in the eyes of my children, Nicola and Raffaele, and in those of my beloved grandchildren. My children have never left; they have always known what to do "when they grow up": to renew every day the memory that smells of oil, that has earthen hands, that has the sound of the mills in the mill, that has the taste of happy moments and that looks with love at those makes happy memories overflow from your plate, which expand… like wildfire.