There's no scenic route into Aversa. To arrive, you must pass through a mafia-laden area where, from what I'm told, a murder could literally happen in front of you. The buildings and villas are scattered amongst the unkempt fields of grass and rubbish, like a modern day scenographic setting of a Wild West movie. I feel as if I'm back in Detroit, off the rough and barren streets of 6 and 7 mile (which make 8 mile look like Las Vegas). Every stop sign had me a bit anxious. I glance down to the right of my shoulder to be sure the door is locked. We slowly approach our destination. Most of the streets have slow speed limits, making it impossible not to be a witness to your surroundings.
Fast forward 4 years later....
But for a little twist of irony, paradoxically, what would ultimately save the last remaining parcel of vineyards? None less than the urban abuses of over-construction of homes built in the 80s and 90s - another tragedy which Nicola shakes his head in contempt about which have defaced the area - which acted as concrete walls, blocking the winds from taking down all their vineyards. On this tiny parcel remains, we stumbled upon Luciano and his son.
On a personal note... This was one of the first vineyards upon living in Italy that made such a mark on my heart and hence why seeing the destruction here ripped it to pieces. To discover a tradition, to see centuries of history maintained and to learn their historical context, and to taste with immense pleasure a glass of this land - that is why I love wine!
Something else that has stuck with me - I observed and learned here how my first initial impressions of 'where are we' and feeling as though this place was going to be a total waste of our time, were foolishly wrong. It's that American side of me that can so often stay on the surface of things or be quick to judge by what my eyes see. How many stories are lost to the wind as we whirl around aimlessly looking for the next sparkling thing.
This story has so many historical and anthropological layers, which take time to assimilate and understand, but every story like this adds to my deeper appreciation of what makes Italy such a rich country - beyond its stereotypical Tuscan Sun and Neapolitan pizzas. Thank you Nicola - it's stories like yours which have left a never-ending impression on my heart, opened my mind and given me a new level of awareness which I'll appreciate with every sip of your wines.
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