Bimba dei Anni 50, I used to spend a holiday in Loranzè, in Canavese, my cousin Gina’s guest, for all Magna Gina. We reached Ivrea with the Aosta, a small train with old wooden carriages and completed the journey with a short stroke.
Magna Gina, a widow and a young son, filled me with attentions and delicacies and involved me in her very active life. She woke up early and went to the washroom powered by a canterie brook that was doing my company at night and with her rinsing my clothes climbing over a rock to be at the water level at 8 am I was already wet. Magna Gina then wore me dry clothes and then with gerla and baskets of supplies she left for the vineyard. At the end of the trail, when I was climbing, I was already tired, and poor Gina, silver hair and golden heart, made me into the gerla and carried me to the top of the hill.
The path was a climb to the Earth’s Paradise: around me there were trees full of fruits of all kinds and I just had to stretch out a hand to pick up the mulberry and bamboo leaves, apricots, plums, small pears, white peaches, Figs, avoiding the bees that were buzzing in the heat. The vineyard was covered by terraces with water-gathering tanks that housed frogs and toads, while green and blue dragonflies squirming among the bushes of the thousand flowers spinning in everywhere.
At the top of the hill a large gate supported by pillars, bearing the inscription “Villa Marra” and next to “Parva domus magna quies”. The entrance was preceded by a staircase opening on a plateau on which the mansion was standing. It was a simple construction, without electricity and no convenience but for me it was a treasure trove: on the ground floor there were the kitchen and dining room while the bedrooms were on the upper floor.
The furnishings were old, if not antique, and for this it was doubly fascinating to start from the oil lamps to the yellow collections of “The Sunday of the courier” that I was browsing kidnapped. Around the house there was a court with the top of white rosellines under which the table for lunches and snacks was fitted, the water pump, the fish of the red fish that I ingested with the wastes of the hosts that the old Parish priest gave me.
The ladies who were sewing or chatting sat on a rooftop terrace, a balcony on the Canavesan plain as the men spent their afternoons playing bowls in the playground at the bottom of which there was a stone cave with seats and The coffee table with bread and salami and fresh vinegar.
On the side of the courtyard there was the chicken coop with hens of various breeds, and my favorite were the “Americans” who lay small eggs and on which a gallant king was reigning. On the back was the hazel, where there were squirrels and ghosts: my cousin Giuseppe was afraid that they were afraid of my talk and that I would only have been able to see them. It has happened very rarely.
All this kingdom was governed with a firm hand by Magna Gina: it was laborious like a bee and every creature of the vineyard, every flower, to each person she was giving her cure and affection that still warm the heart of those who lived with her today.