Keeping It In The Family

I don’t know who was more excited… Jen to see her parents or Jen’s parents to see their granddaughter.  It was close, but judging by the suitcase of presents exclusively for Julia, I would give the edge to Jen’s mom, Diane.  Of course, this suitcase (along with the 42 other suitcases Jen’s mom, dad and sister brought) got lost somewhere over the Atlantic and didn’t arrive for another two days (the airline had to hire a Mack truck to deliver everything in one trip).

Julia playing with Nonna on Day One
As you’ve no doubt surmised from above, Jen’s family came to visit recently.  They wanted to see the country they love, their second home that has been overtaken by three squatters, their kids and their granddaughter (not necessarily in that order).  And we were thrilled to see all of them.  Since the timing was right with their work schedules and nursing school (Jen’s sister, Jessica had just graduated), they were able to stay a full month.  We had plenty of down time relaxing and plenty of time on the go-go-go.  Since so much happened during this month, the story of their visit will most definitely be broken into a few posts.
“I LOVE the view up here!” 
Julia chilling with Jess by Lake Como

We made quick work getting to Como and spending some time visiting many of the other lake towns.  Early on during their visit, we had lunch at a place we’ve been wanting to try, Al Veluu in the lake town, Tremezzo.  We had tried to visit this restaurant in the past (with my Aunt and Uncle), but ran into a problem more common than you may think.  They were closed for several months – this time, due to renovations (usually it’s more along the lines of… “we’re on vacation, come back next month”).  The apparent renovations paid off – the restaurant, terrace and view were all exceptional.  Secretly, Jen and I were thrilled to show Dominic and Diane a new place they hadn’t tried in their many years coming to Como.

Ristorante Al Veluu
The land this building sits upon has been in the family for over 300 years
Another angle of the restaurant and Inn
Passing through the entryway
Dom and Diane were so happy to be back in Italy, they were all smiles
Julia made quick work playing with the toys
She even found some friends to play with
The view from the terrace
A shot of the terrace – we made friends with our “neighbors”
Another angle of the incredible view
Some delicious bread to get us started…
…which went perfectly well with this olive tapenade
Dominic and I started with a steak tartare made table side
Vitello Cotoletta alla Milanese con arugala (veal chop lightly breaded and topped with salad)
Piccata di Vitello “Al Veluu” (veal scallops in white wine with spicy red sauce and capers)
Incredible desserts
They tasted as good as they look
The complete dessert inside
Julia loved her lunch and we love to kiss her!

Another day, we took the funicolare to the hilltop town of Brunate, which sits high atop Como.  Jen and I had visited on a fog-filled day this past winter (HERE), so we were eager to soak up the incredible views that we knew Brunate offered (but were previously impeded for us).  Diane suggested a restaurant she had been to before.  If you know Diane, you’ll know that she is a creature of habit (let’s just say on her first visit, she was dumbfounded that we would go to the other grocery store or park in a different parking lot in Como).  So we knew if she had a good experience at this restaurant before, trying to convince her otherwise would not be worth our lives.  Luckily, she nailed the pick – they had amazing views, the best cheese plate we’ve eaten since living in Italy and Dominic and I enjoyed the most tender capra (goat).  Julia even had fun kissing the head of the fish from Jen’s dish.

View of Lago di Como from Brunate
Julia had an incredible time at lunch
She played the drums with her Nonno
Then stopped for a pose with Mom and Dad
As well as Nonna

Another day still, we enjoyed the sights and sounds of Menaggio.  OK, OK… we really enjoyed some wonderful gelato.

Julia always goes to splash in this same fountain in Menaggio
Stopping for a photo-op with her Nonni
“Mom, this is my cone – get your own!”
“That goes for you too, Nonno!”

Apart from all this rolling around town, we also took two marvelous trips while they were here.  We had previously planned a visit to Scotland, but we also planned an impromptu visit to Civitella in the Abruzzo region of Italy.  This village was Jen’s nonna’s (grandma’s) birthplace and hometown.  Since both trips were so rich with stories and experiences of their own I will continue them in separate posts.

“I’m exhausted already, you’d better break this into a few more posts!”

One thought on “Keeping It In The Family”

  1. I have just commented how much I love Abruzzo, but likewise i love Como. The Two are so very different. I love that Lake Como appears to be’ a small lake but it goes on and on. It’s magical because its decorated with hundred of little towns with individual charm. Those restaurants have it all, the best food with amazing views. Greg, again you have done an amazing job memorializing this trip. But,…..did you have to put the picture of those two falling asleep? LOL
    Once again I keep reviewing this over and over.

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