I chatted with the young guy building the bonfire in Piazza Matteotti earlier this evening, asking him what was going on ... having learned that bonfires are entirely possible any place in Liguria at the moment.
He explained that there was a concert tonight, there in the piazza, a treasure hunt too (one I knew that I wouldn’t be going on), and it would all culminate in the bonfire being lit. This bonfire was one of those special ones where you get to write your wish on a piece of paper and place it onto the unlit bonfire and voila ... your wish would come true. (I knew I wouldn’t do that too…)
The celebration, I hope I am right when I write that it was a celebration honouring Genova’s saint - San Giovanni.
So, tonight I cooked my last Genovese pasta and pesto dinner, I opened a bottle of red wine, started packing my suitcase then suddenly decided not to be silly and to go out and, at very least, visit the concert a while.
It was too much. I saw all the families leaving on the treasure hunt, so I raced back to the apartment for my camera, having decided to tag along behind all the Genovese following the maps. Suddenly, there I was, on a treasure hunt that took us all through the ancient centre of the city for quite some hours.
Genova has been kind to me. I have had the very good fortune to meet some of her best people.
You see, once out there, I thought I should perhaps see if I could join a group. I tried a ‘scusi’ and asked if the people walking in front of me spoke English. And they did and, even better, they very kindly let me tag along with their group.
We talked as walked, and really, I couldn’t have been happier as I photographed each performance, a performance that not only entertained but gave the treasure-seekers their clue for the next place on the route. The performances were superb, just by the way.
It would have been so good had I packed my flash but I wasn’t going on that treasure hunt through the caruggi at night ...
We weren’t the first people to return to the piazza and so the honour of lighting the bonfire was given to someone else but it was a most excellent night.
Mille grazie to Federico and everyone else. I realise, now that I’m home, I don’t really know how to spell everyones names so ... let me thank you as a group, for your generosity in allowing me to join you on the treasure hunt, and for your English, and your stories, and the foccacia.