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Fireworks on Lake Como: Celebrating the 4th of July Italian Style
A few years ago I tried to get my husband to go on a hike to the Lake Country in Northern Italy. My husband is 2nd generation Italian American from Naples and Sicily. go north? Fugedaboutit! They don’t serve red sauce! please? Well, love wins every time and I was soon booking a room at the venerable Villa d’Este on Lake Como. My husband and I decided that on this trip, in addition to the usual travel sites, do an Ellen and Clark Griswold “unusual” site trip. First up was the Milk River, an 820-foot-long river that flows white foam and water from mid-March to mid-October. And then it just dries up. Next was a 75-foot statue of Cardinal San Carlo Borromeo on the hills above Lake Maggiore. It took 83 years to create this item. Not much to see but on the horizon you see a fort above the lake. We moved on and discovered it was a 13th century Roman fort filled with 17th and 18th century tapestries and the largest collection of Barbie dolls in Italy. Now that was a surprise.
The biggest surprise awaited us at the villa. We were so busy that we didn’t realize the villa was getting ready for its annual 4th of July party in honor of its liberation by American soldiers in World War II. He started this festival in late 1940s. Since we didn’t know about festivals, we were too late to sign up for their grand dinner with wine pairing. So my husband and I ate at a local trattoria and headed back to the villa. From our balcony we had a magnificent view of the villa as well as Lake Como. Around 9pm the orchestra started in the grand courtyard area. We walked out onto our patio with a great bottle of Chianti and watched them set up. We are then transported back to the 1920s. Singers sang such songs It Had To Be You, No abuseAnd Old Man River. Then it moved into the 30s and 40s with the era of big bands and the rage of crooners. They took us back to the 50s with the Big Bopper and the Jitterbug. While all this was going on, small boats were sliding in the middle of the lake to set off firecrackers. Meanwhile, locals were parking their vehicles on the hilly road behind the villa. You cannot imagine the beauty of the fireworks reflecting off the lake and the surrounding mountains. The fireworks lasted for about 45 minutes. All the while local residents were clapping and whistling and cheering for the event. I have to rate this evening as one of the best memories of my trip. Oh, and I heard George Clooney goes to the event. Honey, I think a trip to Villa d’Este during the 4th of July would be perfect, don’t you? please?
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