The town of Capestrano
Land of 1,000 Castles:
The Ooh in Abruzzo
By Linda Oatman High
It's 1 a.m. on the East Coast of America, and I'm somewhere over the
ocean, on Eurofly's inaugural flight to Pescara, Italy. Dinner has just
been served, but this is no ordinary airplane meal. This is a feast
of fine Italian cuisine, cooked and served in style: Linen tablecloth
carefully placed across the tray, my own personal little bottle of olive
oil, silver, china, and endless smiles from the immaculately groomed
attendants. They all seem to be blessed with great figures, these young
Sophia Lorens of the sky. They all have flawless lipstick, gleaming
teeth, and luminous skin.
You'd never imagine that these women suffer from jet lag every now
and then, or have an off day in the wild blue yonder. This is a pleasant
switch from the snappy I'm-Doing-You-A-Favor-By-Giving-You-A-Pack-Of-Peanuts
employees that have all too sadly become the norm of the air travel
industry. Flying with Eurofly is what travelers must have experienced
in the early days of airplanes: rather glamorous, relaxed, respected.
I heartily consume the food all five courses or so and
then pop up my movie screen. Every seat in business class has a screen,
with a selection of movies in both Italian and English. Every gorgeously
patterned seat reclines, too, with an adjustable footrest. I recline.
I close my eyes. I rest my feet. Ahhhhh. La Dolce Vita. This
is The Good Life.
There's another Italian saying: Il dolce far niente. The Sweetness
of Doing Nothing.
I'm doing nothing, nothing but flying, in style, over the ocean. I
sleep, and it's sweet.
I awaken to the landscape of Pescara, east of Rome on the Adriatic
Sea, the calf of the leg in the boot of Italy. This is Eurofly's first
flight to this landing strip, and like their other JFK-based flights,
it's a direct route. In operation for three years, Eurofly's non-stop
Italy destinations already include Rome, Bologna, Naples, and now Pescara,
a city in the region of Abruzzo.
The landing is smooth, and the Airbus 330 is greeted by a welcoming
committee. There's a red carpet to walk, hands to shake, smiles to exchange,
and a jaunty brass band. I feel a little bit like Madonna, whose roots
are in Abruzzo. The entire country of Italy welcomes its visitors with
open arms, and Abruzzo is no exception to the rule. They seem to love
Americans here, and they often acknowledge our role in assisting Italy
during the Second World War.
The President of Abruzzo tells of his relative who began a successful
seamstress business by making a wedding dress with cloth given to her
by a U.S. soldier. It's a story that brings tears to the eyes of the
listeners, especially those from America.
"We live in a troubled time when it's good to meet and promote
peace," comments one man on the welcoming committee.
"We are so happy to see a big plane in our little place,"
says another. "Welcome to Abruzzo."