"The floors ... please take care of the floors!"
This was what my grandmother Maria always said whenever we mentioned the old family home.
In fact, who knows how it must have taken her husband Giuseppe to make them…
Laid directly in place using cement, marble dust and grit, and elegantly finished with different patterns and colours for each room on the first and second floors of the building.
He, who had been a bricklayer like his father, was one of the many young men called to the war in 1939. From the time he returned,he never spoke about it.
He just picked up his work tools and began to restore the house he was born in and where his parents still lived.
He started with the floors, then built the balconies overlooking the lake and the large terrace overlooking the garden. Then it was the turn of the columns that support the entrance porch and those of the parapets of the balcony on the ground floor. Finally, with the cement he had left, he created flower beds, niches and decorated vases so that the garden was full of plants and flowers.
And then he stopped.
He sat down and after lighting yet another cigarette, he thought that the time had come to marry Maria in that enchanted garden overlooking the lake.
And so it was. In the spring of 1949 that became their home.
My father was born the following year. It was he who told me the story of how my grandfather, needing to give new life to his war-weary eyes, decided to create a vision of rare beauty to leave to future generations.
A gift that I am proud to share with my guests today.