Extraordinary people and adventure! - Mari & Alfonso welcomed us with homemade cannelloni, a big bag of pasta, and marinara sauce to make sure we had dinner, since the stores had already almost closed when we arrived (they also provided us with coffee and pear juice for refreshment, and chocolates at the end of our stay) and they gave us helpful maps and detailed information about our home and the world beyond.
The section of their house that was ours was extremely comfortable....we slept deeply and woke to hot baths and excellent coffee and breakfast in the perfect kitchen!
The trains can be heard cruising by, but one actually tunes them out and they are rather infrequent (by Berlin standards!), so we were only grateful for the convenience of public transport literally ten seconds from our front door (it really helped, since we have four children).
On Mari and Alfonso's recommendation - with wonderful daughter Maria Vera writing out the connections to be made - we ended up having the best swimming and culinary adventure to Cefalù, along a route we wouldn't easily have discovered on our own.
Another highlight: this darling family offered to drive us to a local sandy, glamorous beach one day - and then they came back to pick us up after our magnificent swimming and sunbathing experience. So thoughtful, so generous!
Special touches made our time in St. Nicola even more superb: a children's table and chairs for artwork, an offer of a baby bath, a delightful, familial meeting in the garden with nonna Maria Vera. One could imagine a glass of wine and delicate slice of bruschetta in the sunlight!
On the last morning, the exceedingly lovely Mari came out to the same lush garden to accompany us to the station. Our children adored her and daughter & nonna Maria Vera (both, in family tradition), and Alfonso was cheerful and fun, too.
We welcome them all to visit us next time, for these are folks to share and reconnect with for the rest of our lives!