The summer I was 18, I was housebound from a bad case of hepatitis. My grandmother was recuperating from a fall down a long flight of marble steps. Tired of my complaints of fatal boredom, my mother urged me to keep my grandmother company. Thus began my daily conversations with Clementina, during which I learned about Dosoledo, and fell in love with all things Italian.
Dosoledo is a town of 500 inhabitants in the province of Belluno, region of the Veneto, nestled at 4,000+ feet among the much taller Dolomite mountains. It’s a stone’s throw from the Brenner Pass to Austria and, indeed, the Italian spoken there retains the cadence of German.
Clementina left Dosoledo in 1915, when the great war raged in Europe but before the US was involved. She was 16 years old and brought with her on the long journey her 15-month-old niece Edda, the first child of her adored eldest brother Gabriele and his wife Ersilia. But that’s a story for another day.
Dosoledo, like Garcia Marquez’s Macondo, is both real and imagined. The house she grew up in is still there; her parents and her sister are buried in the church cemetery there. The air is most often cold, the hiking excellent, the citizens hardy mountain people. Come, come with me to Dosoledo…