It was an old dairy farm, by the memories of my father’s sister, Aunt Chiara. Since 1860, it was born with the name “Oliverio” because it was surrounded by many olive trees.
My name’s Rachele and I was born in 1934 in Milan. When I was 5 years old we moved from the big city, getting away from war bombing and moved to my grandparents’ home in Bellagio hamlet. Oliverio was an holiday house, and we spent time playing with carefree liveliness.
Every one of us was calm, even though the period was becoming dangerous…. because of the war. We had no water or light in the rustic… in the evening we used oil lamps; there was – and still exists – a well from which we drew water.
Our grandfather had a boat, “Berenice”, and he carried hotels guests around Como Lake, explaining and talking about the various legends. Some of These stories were maybe true or imagined, but surely of striking beauty. To reach small rooms at the top of the house it was used a stone staircase outside, it seems impossible nowadays to live with this simplicity.
My GranMa Maria (who really was the sister of his grandfather) raised silkworms. Two large wooden panels suspended in the room were covered with mulberry leaves for silkworms. They were disgusting to me, but when the yellow cocoons which kept silk bugs became a larva it seemed a miracle to my little eyes of a child.
My grandparents had no many animals, they had only hens in the hen-house and a beautiful cat at home with us. The large meadow was covered of vineyards, corn and potatoes; my Aunt Chiara was taking care of a small vegetable garden with many vegetables, useful for my family.
A wonderful memory for me is the harvest period: my grandfather’s old friends loved me and we had fun raising me up to the top of the big barrel full of grape bunches, big laughs and up and down with cold legs to press the grapes. I like to remember also meals, the fireplace, my aunt who mixed polenta in the great copper pot, followed by sausages and eggs. Finally all of us went to the garden to do …. today we would say … a picnic. A lot of years has passed … the old farmhouse has been renovated several times, but its antique soul remains as before, Today its name’s Villa Olivee, and preserves the memories of people lived or left, and by me…
… Forever with love,