I continue with the activities of last friday.
After we visited the Naval Museum at the Arsenale,
we went to another beautiful place in the gulf of La Spezia: Porto Venere.
Very typical for the ligurian coast: the "palazzate" - colorful, narrow buildings at the harbour.
At the end of the harbour we had a nice view into the gulf:
A seagull stopped by at the walls of the San Pietro basilica.
...and also along the ligurian coast in northern direction:
The castle Andrea Doria:
We went back into the town, walking the narrow streets:
Mike, Diego, Ron and Graham ("the dial fanatics")
Our next meeting point was the center of Porto Venere, where we had
a good view up to a little house right next to the Andrea Doria castle.
So - what was the reason to visit this nice place? Not that
there doesn't really has to be a reason, as this is such a
beautiful place to visit just for fun... The family of Mario Arillo,
the first owner of my vintage Luminor watch, invited us for dinner.
The story behind is, that during the production of the book, which
I wrote together with Ralf, I was searching for photos which I already
had as black/white copy from the previous owner. He kindly forwarded
the address of Arillo's family to me, so I had the chance to get in
contact with his daughter Maria Cristina.
In june 2007 I sent them a letter, introducing myself, explaining what
I was writing about and asking if they would provide me two photos which I
was looking for. Not really expecting anything, 2 weeks later I got an
envelope with... the two original photos from the 1940's!
I was very happy that they were trusting me that much, a strange person from Germany
which they never heard of before, asking for photos of their father......
I digitalized the photos and sent them back immedately, added some
sweets and a letter, expressing my happiness and thanks that they
gave me the permission to use the photos.
To my total surprise, another two weeks later I received the photos again
- but this time with a personal dedication on the same original photos from
Arillo's daughter. I was very moved and blown away by this very special gift.
During and after the book's production we continue to write letters and
in april I informed the family that I would be in La Spezia to visit the
Arsenale and the Com.Sub.In. They replied "why not visiting Porto Venere,
you are kindly welcome with your friends..." And this was the reason to
go up the hill to meet Arillo's family - finally - in person!
Inbetween the olive trees there was a lift for two persons:
Umberto and Simona were the "choosen ones"
which saved the walk up to the house.
What a view! Plinio, Ralf, Hagen and Mike at the balcony.
Before we started with the dinner, Piero and I handovered gifts
to thank for the invitation and hospitality to our group. As I
heard before that Maria Cristina has four children, I brought a book
for each of them as a little gift.
History, everywhere in Arillo's house: the crest of the submarine
Ambra, which was commanded by Mario Arillo in 1941.
Bronze of one of the famous photos of Arillo, enterring the Ambra
Dinner was about to start: at the table family and friends of the
Arillo family mixed with members of our group - good company!
Maria Cristina was taking good care of us, serving a delicious
dinner - here some frutti di mare to Piero and Simona.
Another photo of the dinner table...
Asi got a "special watch dessert"
And finally it was the wrist shot of the evening: Mike's "quattro stazione"
To close this part of my report, I want to say a special thanks to the family of Mario Arillo for their hospitality.
I will never forget the true friendship which we were all receiving, this is something really special for me.
Inviting a group of people to their house which they never met before, says something to me of the way they treat people.
I rise my hat. Mille grazie!
Thanks for looking - to be continued.
representin' the DNA of Panerai
[Error fixed at the request of Volker by JJP]