For those who don’t know, at the age of 8 I moved three hours away from my hometown, Torino to go live in Modena.
This is where I would grow up for three years before moving to the US, and where I would learn English - shout out to ISM, International School of Modena for preparing me.
Modena will always have a special place in my heart as it’s a place filled with fond moments, bright colors, amazing people, amazing food and a beautiful culture. This is why I like to call it La Città del Giallo (the City of Yellow) - because it is filled with brightly colored architecture, the main colors being yellow and orange, and because the memories and its people are joyous like the color.
Centro di Modena - taken December 22, 2021.
Before sharing my 24 hours “modenesi” and why I loved them much as I did - it’s important to share the core memories I have from my childhood one being with my neighbors.
My family and I befriended 3 of our neighbors - at the start we knew their homes by their dogs' names: Fritz, Pucci, and Rex. Fritz was the dog who I would always pet from the opposite side of the fence and go play with when his family was home.
Occasionally, Fritz's parents would invite me up to their home's acetaia, a cold room located right beneath the roof of their home, with little light filtering through and a nice air flow. This room's filled with barrels of balsamic vinegar ordered in size - starting from the left with the largest barrels which had the youngest vinegar, ending on the right with tiny barrels filled with the old (aka best) vinegar, which was thick and sweet. They had a shelf filled with cute bottles, some being star shaped, other regular rectangles, and so forth. The tastings were spoonfuls of joy - to the point where I could drink balsamic vinegar. My favorite was their cherry vinegar.
This beautiful memory became a moment yesterday night when I visited my other neighbors, Rex’s parents, who we’ve stayed in touch with since leaving. The friendship our families have always make it feel like we’re relatives. As we were ending our amazing dinner, we began talking about food and drinks - specifically the process of how they produce their own balsamic vinegar, nocino, limoncello cream - and how their brother in law accidentally made a "noceto" - he mixed nocino and balsamic vinegar. As we said our see you laters, they gifted us four bottles of their 20+ year old vinegar and 1.5 kg (3.03 lbs) of Parmigiano Reggiano.
Our conversation reminded me of how much passion there is in Modena, and how well everyone keeps the culture alive.
Another core memory was my friendships. One that I will always cherish, was built at Sunday school - right next to my home and when visiting yesterday, I got to see my friend after three years. After some cellphone struggles on my end, we met in the center of Modena and walked around, as she gave me a tour to refresh my memory on the streets and different locations. While we didn't have too much time together, the 2 hours we did have where filled with laughter and catching up on what had been happening since our last lunch together in the winter of 2019.
I value our friendship so much and loved that it didn’t skip a beat - feeling as if I never moved away. This goes into one of the most beautiful things I have gained through these many years of moving around, and that is true friendship and having a handful of it.
What's a yellow memory of yours?