s a n d y f e e t . e x p o . i t a l i a . 9 9


Leonardo & Azzurra Tie the Knot!

I was greatly honored to be invited to the wedding of my fellow sculptor Leonardo Ugolini and his lovely sweetheart Azzurra Signorini.

Weddings in Italy are much like Catholic weddings in the US, near as I can tell. Lots of standing up and sitting down and incomprehensible mumbo jumbo from the priest, regardless of the language he is using. This wedding was an informal affair with lots of restless children (one of which was right behind me and had this thing about pulling my hair.)

What I was not prepared for was the warm welcome I was given by the couple's family and friends... even those who did not have English capabilities went out of their way to let me know how happy they were for me to be here. It was much appreciated.

Left: the bride!

Below: The procession to the church, Azzurra on her father's arm and her mother holding up the train with a pretty little girl named Cicilia (I think)


The reception was held at this agriturismo facility up in the hills at Monteleone. The building dates back to the 17th century if I understood Azzurra's mother correctly and the setting was really lovely. We gathered on the patio for canapes and drinks and that is where I got to meet another sand sculptor - Antonio a friend of Leo's. His English was very good and he has a goofy sand sculptor sense of humor as well, though he has never competed and has not even taken any pictures of his sculptures. he is a student in rome most of the time but spends his summers on the coast building sculptures for tips.

Right: they still throw rice in Italy instead of the birdseed you see at most American weddings these days


Antonio and Daniella

Above: Sand sculptor Antonio with his girlfriend Daniella

After a while, we moved inside for the serious eating -- and I do mean serious. A lush buffet of all kinds of foods I didn't recognize was spread out - but that was for later. Much later. First was the rissoto, then a pasta,then another kind of pasta, washed down with bottles of red and white wine that kept refilling themselves. And then I was done - utterly stuffed and we hadn't gotten to the main course yet!

Below: my table
my table

The seating was assigned and whoever had decided these things very kindly put me at the same table as Antonio and some other nice people who valiantly attempted to include me in their conversations even with the language problem. Early in the meal, Antonio's pretty girlfriend Daniella showed up - she sometimes helps him with his sculptures. Antonio suggested that I may want to stay in Cesena another day - I could see him at work and if I needed a place to stay I was welcome at his place, and then I could ride up to Jesolo with Leo and Azzurra on Monday. After my train experience on Fri., this sounded like a very good idea indeed and when Azzurra and I talked about it later, she asked if I would feel better staying in the hotel and I said yes and that I would pay for the additional night but she wouldn't hear of it.

Right: Antonio goofing around while the newlyweds dance


About the time the cake was carried out by two burly waiters, I discovered a new appetite and greddily dug in. but that was not the end of it, no! After a short time a huge platter of fresh fruit was wheeled out, followed by espresso which was followed by appertifs (I chose lemoncello, of course. I think I am getting addicted.)


Left: cutting the cake

Below: The happy couple poses with your humble reporter

Azzurra, Feet and Leo

So finally, after about 7 hours of eating, drinking, dancing and general celebration, I was given a ride back to my room by Azzurra's parents, who came in with me and arranged for the extra night. I was very grateful. This wedding (and the wonderful people I met there) was certainly one of the major highlights of my trip thusfar.

I thought I would fall right asleep but remembered I had a column almost due so I stayed up until 3:30 am working on it.

Right: sunset at Monteleone


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