For me, living in the city, the Fourth of July is like being in a war zone with bombs falling. And they explode not only on Fourth of July night, but for a week before and a week afterward—often at two a.m. —and often the illegal kind that shakes you whole house and panics your pets. I dread it.
I do like the big fireworks displays put on by cities—especially as they only last twenty minutes. But I loathe the crowds you must fight to get to them. So I wondered what I would write in this blog. Fortunately, I do have one lovely memory—of fireworks I saw in Italy this summer on one of their national holidays.
After an exhausting and unexpectedly difficult day of travelling, I reached Villa Scarpariello Relais on the Amalfi Coast at sunset. Going through the gate was like entering a romantic fairy tale. The rambling villa on the sea had stone stairways, terraces, balconies, lemon trees, flowers, bits of statuary—all lit up for evening.
The Full Moon over the sea at the Villa Scarpariello Relais
An hour after checking into my room with its columned balcony overlooking the sea, I heard distant booms. Then a gentle voice called, “Claudia, Claudia (my legal name on my passport, beautifully pronounced in Italian as Cloudia). Claudia, do you want to come and see the fireworks?” It was Dominic, the kind night porter who had welcomed me earlier. “But I have no shoes on,” I called. “Come as you are,” he said.
So I ran out into the warm Italian night in my bare feet, and Dominic led me up the stairs to a place where we could see down the coast. There, fountains of light rose over the cliffs, illuminating the old Italian buildings. I watched, enchanted, and chatted with Dominic as the full moon rose over the sea.
That was one of the loveliest moments of my life.
Next year, when the bombs go of in my city, I will close my eyes and remember fireworks in Italy.
Dominic at the Villa Scarpariello Relais