Our first day in Italy it rained and my partner came down with a migraine:
Both conditions continued the second day:
I suffered for it too:
But on the third day the sun rose and so did my partner, and this is what we saw.
O Italy, where pasta is big!:
And pizza is happy-making:
And where the fruit grow freely:
But where cruel things also happen:
And dangers lurk — this from a fish market during siesta:
The words read: Don’t touch – Private Property – Danger of death!
Yet they tread softly too:
O Italy, cities of illusion! Where tricks await in doorways:
And pussies in windows:
And where old meets new in a dazzling display:
And East meets West:
And tourists go with dignity:
And where women have sticky-out bottoms:
But are otherwise well represented:
But of all these great sights none compares to the fairytale town of Dolceacqua, the last of the historic towns we were to visit on our holiday. The town is overlooked by a castle. We crossed the mule bridge here pictured:
And entered into the many musty passages leading up to, and underneath, the castle, through dungeons dark and caverns old, and doorways closed to modern man:
And climbed up through many a steep-stepped lane:
And at the top came upon this plaque, which I’ve reproduced here in full as the picture below might not be clear enough:
History of the Michetta
This legend originates in the 14th century: at that time the marquis of Dolceacqua, Imperiale Doria, was an avid and ambitious man, so avid of power that he claimed the inhumane right of “jus primae noctis” [right of the first night]. On the wedding night of the young couple, Lucrezia and Basso, two armed soldiers took the young bride to the castle where the cruel nobleman awaited her. The maiden with great tenacity refused the advances of the tyrant, who, in anger, had her thrown in the deepest dungeons of the rock and there the maiden starved to death. The young bridegroom swore to revenge his beloved, hid in a bale of hay, and on the back of a mule entered the walls of the castle and armed with a dagger he confronted the marquis and demanded the abolition of “jus primae noctis” by edict. The next day, in celebration of being finally free from this abuse of power, a group of women created a pastry, whose very form alludes to the female private part, which they named “michetta”. From that day every year on the 16th of August the youths of the village celebrate the “festa della michetta”, with songs, dances and litres of Dolceacqua’s Rossese wine.
After reading this text I felt a burst of exultation and ran back down the many steps, past the ancient doorways, through caverns measureless to man, by the dungeons deep and the B&Bs, and across the mule bridge and into the centre of town to the local bakery where I placed my order for a slice of michetta; and upon receiving the sacrament, I sunk my teeth into it:
Self-raising and yeast-free!
O Italy, thou lovely country!