National Geographic : 1968 Jul
been told it was far from the tourist track, and what I saw looked like a shining cluster of small apartment houses and hotels, each with four or five or six stories. "Don't worry," said Dr. Gregorutti, "it's just as I told you. Those aren't apartments or hotels, they're private homes." "How can people in a village like this be rich enough to put up homes of that size," I wondered. "They aren't rich, but they're comfortable," laughed Gregorutti. "Father and mother oc cupy one floor; every married son has a floor of his own. The family metal shop is on the ground floor. These are family industries." The family of Antonio Codega turned out Gaiety explodes as Bardolino celebrates a bountiful grape harvest. Folk dancers, in traditional costume, swing to the tune of guitars in front of the town hall. to be a goo example. Antonio, lean and wiry at 69, has four sons and four daughters. Three of the daughters are married and living on their own floors in other houses; one is pro messa-promised-andwill leave soon. And, exactly as Dr. Gregorutti had told us, each of the sons had his own floor, and his own doorbell. In the workshop below, the forge was glow ing and anvils were ringing as Codega sons and some of the 25 employees hand-shaped heads for ice axes, cow bells a foot across for export to Switzerland, and miniature bells for souvenir key chains. Signor Codega handed me an ice ax and I hefted it. The balance was excellent. "It takes a man more than a day to make one," he said, "and I or one of my sons inspect each one. They must be perfect. Here, feel the place where the wood joins the head." I slid my hand up the shaft and onto the metal. Unbelieving, I tried it again. When I closed my eyes, I couldn't detect the jointure. Signor Codega beamed. "This is handwork," he said. "No machine can do such a job." Sindaco Remembers His GI Liberators Someone spoke from behind me. "Is it true you are Americans?" Donna replied that we were. "Then you are doubly welcome," said a smiling, middle-aged gentleman who intro duced himself as the sindaco, or mayor, of Premana. "First, because you are the first Americans who have ever come to our vil lage, so I welcome you on behalf of all of us. And more important to me, because the Amer icans liberated me from a Nazi prison camp. I saw General Patton's army enter Trier on March 18, 1945, and it was the happiest day of my life. So I welcome you for myself, Gia nola Dionigi, and I offer you the hospitality of my village and my family." We checked into the spotless Hotel La Peppa, then rejoined the mayor over a bottle of good wine to hear more about his village. "We have about 1,900 people now," he cal culated, "and ten years ago it was only 1,600. We could use even more workers if we had them. But we're producing them ourselves at a pretty good rate. Last year 65 children were born here.