The village of San Gemini where our family of 16 was staying easily became familiar territory to our seven grandkids, ages 5 to 12. Very quickly, they learned the location of the gelato shop, which was also an espresso shop and bar, the little hole-in-the-wall pizza shop where pizza by the slice was one euro, and the tobacco shop that also sold candy and something the locals call “poppers,” which are pea-sized pellets that pop like mini firecrackers when you throw them to the pavement.
With the town’s medieval festival in full swing, there were processions, drum corps, and guys dressed up like knights staging sword fights in the central piazza.
Most of this activity didn’t get going until well after dark and continued to midnight and beyond. Local parents with kids present had no concerns about their children being up so late and many gathered in small groups chatting as their kids slammed popper after popper into the stones in the square.
Naturally our grandkids mixed right in while we sampled Umbrian wine and grappa in the sidewalk cafe.
Our villa was a short, but steep, walk up a narrow stone-paved walkway plus five flights of stairs, giving us an opportunity to walk off some of the pasta, pizza and gelato we consumed each night.