G & C Renew Their Wedding Vows

The Wedding Feast of Collechio

Church of S. Prospero Collecchio, Italy (XI Cent)

Well, there certainly was a feast.  But, of course, the reason for the feast was that Cindy and I renewed our wedding vows.  It was, afterall, the underlying purpose of the trip.  It could hardly have been better.  Before we go any further, Cindy and I have to thank our hosts, Gio and his lovely wife Barbara, for all their efforts to organize the whole thing and for guiding us around Collechio (their city) and the local area (more on that in a minute).  A special thanks as well to all our Italian friends who came to share in the renewal and the festivities afterwards.

Grazie mille!

Now, on with the story ... .


Verdi, Little Versailles and Tortel Dols di Colorno

Centro ("Downtown") Busseto (2017)

Giuseppe Verdi, the greatest opera composer in history, was born in the tiny town of  Busseto, outside Parma. Parma, once Verdi achieved world-wide renown in the mid-19th century, claimed him as a son of Parma.  As to the Maestro himself, Verdi never forgot his humble origins (the son of an "innkeeper" and his wife - in an age when "innkeeper" was not exactly the most exalted of positions) and always claimed to be the proud son of Busseto.

We were in Parma during the month long Festival Verdi so it was only natural that Gio and Barbara took us to Busseto to see the house in which Verdi was born as well as the Verdi National Museum/Villa Pallavicino.  All of this was interesting enough and although Cindy and I wouldn't classify ourselves as opera buffs, we've seen a few of Verdi's operas and can recognize his "greatest hits".  It's always fun to see artifacts of the Great Men and walk in their footsteps.

But the most fun was pranza - lunch. 

The simple salumeria - the menu: meat, cheese, wine - was perfect and the owner was living proof as to why places like this still exist in Italy.  She explained why she still feels separated from her "hometown", despite the fact that she lives about a mile from the town in which she was born. Her sentiments are still with her birthplace because, well, that's where she was born. This does not seem particularly unusual to her.  It also explains why Verdi, over a century ago, moved his residence a number of times just so he could be on the "right" side of the road and claim residence in "his" town.  Italians have an exquisitely developed sense of place and pride of place that goes with it.  It's quite extraordinary and frankly commendable.  It's why places like Busseto still exist in much the same form over centuries.  

It's also why events like the Gran Gala in Colorno are held.  This street festival is dedicated to the preservation of the bittersweet "tortel dols" (fresh pasta - tortelli - stuffed with autumnal fruits cooked in wine).These little delights are a seasonal dish whose production runs from October thru March (they're a must at Christmas) and are found exclusively in four micro-villages north of Parma.  The festival also features a judged contest between the local rezdore (the lady of the house) for best tortel dols.  


Verdi's Birthplace w/ Barbara, me, Cinzia (2017)
Verdi Museum Villa Palavicino Busseto (2017)
"Gustavo" The Mascot of the Gala Colorno (2017)
Me, Cinzia, Barbara & Gio Festa di Colorno (2017)
Gardens of "Little Versailles" (Colorno) (2017)
G & C Gardens of "Little Versailles" (Colorno)

Colorno is also the site of the Palace of Maria Louisa (Napolean's 2nd wife)Empress of Austria and sovereign of the Grand Duchy of Parma and the popularizer of tortel dols (which she offered to her boatmen)  The Palace is commonly referred to as "Little Versailles" both for its size and its gardens.

So, that's it for the touristy stuff.  On to the main event ... .

Cindy and Gary Celebrate Their 30th Anniversary

Cindy's Bouquet 30th Anniversary Collechio, Italy (2017)

Thirty years of marriage.  All our Italian friends.  Village church from the 11th Century. Parish priest to bless the rings. Mix well with holy water and some ceremonial rice. How could it be any better?

There really isn't any way to adequately describe what renewing our vows in these circumstances meant to us.  Let's just say that while we love Rome, we love our friends more.  Way more.

The renewal ceremony, the after party with our friends ...  all of that and everyone that shared the evening with us will live in our hearts forever.

Gary and Cindy


All text and photos copyright Gary M. Growe (2017)

S. Prospero (Collechio) (2017)
The Teary Bride S. Prospero Collechio, Italy (2017)
"No Laughing In Church" S. Prospero (2017)
Blessing The Rings (S. Propero)(2017)
"You May Kiss The Bride" (S. Prospero)(2017)
The Wedding Party (S. Prospero)(2017)
The Celebrant w/Bride and Groom (2017)
"The Happy Couple" (S. Prospero)(Collechio, Italia)(2017)

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Latest comments

08.08 | 00:42

Beautiful pictures guys...looks like you had a marvelous trip...heavenly gardens and fountains! Love Jess & Don... :)

07.08 | 21:20

Is Savannah really that nice all year round? You've got a knack for making a silk purse.... Anyway, I'm convinced; Savannah's on my bucket list. -p

15.05 | 14:44

Thank you for your service.

15.05 | 06:21

Quite interesting for me to know that.