We chanced upon this charming little village in the province of Bergamo, merely by having followed a brown sign. As we were finding it very difficult to find a free camping spot in the area, Dave approached a young lad, who spoke very good English. His name is Stefano and he was only too happy to run inside to get his IPad to help us out. Whilst we were there, his parents came home, who were also very friendly.
We moved on a little way, until we found a car park opposite a church (with especially loud bells!) the weather was at long last very warm and there was a gorgeous breeze blowing through the campervan.
As we were busying about, who should pop in but Stefano, who had run up all the way to the church to let us know that his parents had invited us to return to theirs, should we need water or anything important. How very kind!
No sooner had Stefano gone, than a car drove into the car park, and out spilled 3 kids and 2 ladies. Our kids immediately ran outside, of course with Cadiz in tow and started playing with the kids. We had a lovely chat with Cristiana and her sister Francesca, who were very interested to hear about our travels. Charming people, who returned about an hour later with their husbands and a bag of sunflower seeds for Cadiz!
After another chat, we exchanged contact details and we will try to catch up with them when we pass through 1taly again in October.
The very loud but tuneful bells woke us again this morning, so off I went for my morning jog, which turned out to be a very long walk up a very steep hill, resulting in me finding myself lost once more. Dave had described the town of Sotto il Monte to be lovely and impeccably well presented, decorated all over with yellow and white streamers to commemorate the recent canonisation of Papa Giovanni XXIII, who was born here. In the end I only saw glimpses of this little town as I was busily trying to find my way back. I dare say that my Italian language skills improved very quickly as I needed to ask for directions more than once.
Upon finally returning to the van for breakfast, the kids excitedly showed me a gift that had been delivered to us from Cristiana and Francesca. It was a beautifully packaged jar of home-made honey and plum jam, that we instantly treated ourselves to on the fresh bread that Dave and the kids had bought this morning (again from friendly local villagers, who said that the kids were ‘belli bambini’). They also included a brochure about their gorgeous farm house, including 10 guest rooms. What a kind and thoughtful gesture.
These people I’ve mentioned are only a handful of the literally dozens of people who said hello and exchanged a few words as we walked around. James very aptly described Sotto Il Monte as the ‘friendliest place in Italy.’ Such generously spirited people, who despite not knowing us from a bar of soap, welcomed us whole-heartedly into their town.