National Geographic : 1968 Jul
Printing silk by hand, men carefully place a screen to apply blue dye to a broad ribbon of scarves at Binda Gianni and Company, silk manufacturers in Como. In addition to silk, the Como region makes furniture and foundry products. "The angels will protect me," he shrugged, and apparently his trust was well founded. The eastern shore of Lake Garda, sheltered by towering Mount Baldo, has Mediterranean flora. Olives, cypresses, and citrus thrive here, and winegrowing flourishes (pages 84-5). The red wine of Bardolino is one of Italy's best known vintages, and we called on Signor Renato Gianfranceschi, director of the Bar dolino Tourist Office, to talk about it. "Wine is important to our economy," he said, "but tourism is our big industry. Lake Garda has always been popular with wealthy Europeans, but in the 1950's there was a big change. Ordinary people then began to come 92 here. Now most of our visitors are from Germa ny, the Netherlands, and Denmark." The director intro duced us to Silvio Mar zari, correspondent for the journal L'Arena of Verona. Young, eager, and handsome, Silvio ap pointed himself our guide. "You like our Bardoli no wine!" he exclaimed happily. "Come along, I'll show you how the grapes are grown." We climbed into the car and drove over twisting dirt roads into the hills that towered over the town. In half an hour we arrived at the farm of Pie tro Bonetti. Silvio led us into the kitchen of the lit tle stucco cottage, and we found the Bonetti family finishing lunch. Empty bowls which had held risotto were on the ancient wooden table, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICSOCIE and a big piece of hard cheese sat beside a grater at one end of the board. Pietro Bonetti rose from the table, dabbed at his mustache, and greeted Silvio as an old friend. Seated at the scrubbed table were Pietro's wife Rosi, their son Albino and his wife Alba, and the two grandchildren Pietro and Tiziano. Pietro Bonetti is 85 (page 88), his wife, by her own statement, "a little younger." With his son, Pietro does all the work on the 81/2 acres he has rented since 1904. "We grow wine grapes, corn, and olives," he said. "In a good year we'll sell 200 quintali [44,100 pounds] of grapes and 15 of olives. We keep a few pigs and rabbits and chickens for our own use."