Delays, whether self imposed or sporadic, happen. It usually is something like an unanticipated train delay or a wave of procrastination. Either way, it just seems inevitable. I definitely procrastinated hard on this post and, by being a human, I have a bag of excuses ready to throw out there. Should I even bother sharing them?
This past weekend, I was blessed to have been apart of a modern Italian celebration. My third(?) cousin tied the knot. I was beyond excited to experience a wedding somewhere outside of America, where catering halls and cheesy bridesmaid dresses are not tainting a beautifully emotional occasion.
Simple is almost always better. I am sure everyone heard the acronym K.I.S.S at least once in their lives, maybe by an uptight English teacher. Things are innately simple, but we do splendor in complicating them. Sometimes, it is done sneakily, unconsciously, because we are just used to it. Whoever planned this wedding made sure to acknowledge the necessities of a party, but did not forget the most important aspect: it was all to celebrate the love shared between two people.
Yes, this all sounds ridiculously tedious, especially for a young woman who is probably too preoccupied with the food and the booze. While I was a bit curious about the food and beverage aspect, I was amazed by the setting and each detail. First, hanging out with my family at my cousin’s house, meeting family that gave faces to names that were thrown around back at my grandma’s dinner table. There was an air of apprehension; the sisters of the groom trying to control their children while simultaneously organizing all the bubbles and rice for the bride and groom’s post mass exit. Soon enough, we were packed into our cars and headed for the church.
I was completely unaware that the wedding was going to be held somewhere among the Tuscan hills, outside of Siena. I was well under the impression that we were returning to the sanctuary in Basilica di San Domenico in town. As I sat in the car, one of the groom’s sisters (my other third cousin) drove forcefully through the tiny country roads, minding her son’s constant questioning of the events of the day. We all were a little confused as to where we were going, until we found the groom and all his ‘boys’ in their “Limobus,” enjoying their ride to the church with the bus doors wide open, demonstrating complete acceptance of a possible roll down the Tuscan hills in drunken bliss.
The ceremony was in a old Roman church, perched among these mystical, sprawling hills. It was only a few years short of its millennial birthday. This church is significant in Siena, as it is a surviving witness of the battle of Montaperti in 1260, a battle alluded to in the Divine Comedy. The fight shed a staggering amount of Ghibelline and Guelph blood. But, let’s return to more positive current events…
Pieve di San Giovanni Battista a Corsano
The architecture truly speaks for itself, with its history naked to the eye. The bride and groom were greeted by a gush of rice, bubbles, and sunlight. A little girl grasped her cone of colorful rice pridefully; I did sneakily take a photo of someone’s child (yes, creepy.) The youth possess a vital symbol at weddings.
After the ceremony, I first changed out of my stilettos because my feet took on two extra sizes from the heat. Then, we were off to the reception. This was the true surprise. I did not know where we were going.
An elusive Castello di Grotti was concealed by remarkable foliage. There, the bountiful cocktail hour and simplistic dinner was held with jazzy music, laughter, and food. Yes, the true centerpiece of every event: food. The one you can only take home stuffed in your belly to the point where you are waddling like a satisfied penguin.
The cocktail hour, with burrata, treccia di mozzarella, pecorino, fritto misto di verdure, salumi, pane…
It was an invigorating experience. Finishing off with a dance in the dining area turned discoteca was fun, especially when you find out Italians have an odd appreciation for reggaeton music. My cousins were not afraid to show their moves; wine tends to help.
It was a wedding inconceivably about enjoying the occasion. There are frankly not enough words to explain how spellbinding the night was. Most of us can only dream of having a wedding somewhere in Toscana or even Italy. To my family and their friends, this was normal. Normal, no matter in Phoenix or Oslo, will continue to be fascinating or maybe just strange to those who live a different normal. It is a cyclical dynamic, which keeps tourism and scholarship alive. We are all lost in it, in our own individual ways. I am happy Toscana is not my normal, yet 😉
Tanti Auguri Fabio and Silvia!