What is better than being a kid in a candy store? How about being a kid living above an authentic pizzeria at the base of the Matterhorn in the Italian Alps! Lino’s Pizzeria in Cervinia was pure magic.
Ron lived in Cervinia twenty years ago and e-mailed Lino for lodging suggestions. When Lino offered his place, we replied graciously declining as we are a family of not two, or three, but five! “The more the merrier,” was his sentiment and he was sincere. Not only did he welcome the kids, he celebrated them.
Because it was off-season, they got to not just “play restaurant” but BE waitress, sous chef, and bartender. The idea of living above a restaurant was so romantic for them and the fact the Lino works around the clock did not register in their beaming smiles, as they woke him every morning.
Lino would help them make cappuccinos for Ron and I served bedside. He would assist them gently as they pounded their pizza dough and he would let them write down their orders and take them to the kitchen. They washed dishes and set tables, swept floors and cleared with glee – chores they do with slightly less enthusiasm when we are not living above a restaurant.
The Matterhorn was nearly close enough to touch. The crack of the glacier was almost audible. We weathered rain, snow and the brightest sun on earth on. Lino’s business is weather-dependent so the kids caught the hang of anticipating more customers when the sun was shining. As they collapsed each night, the din of the customers laughing and glasses clinking lulled them to sleep.
Lino’s generous spirit and unconditional hospitality was unforgettable. We picked bursting cherries in his parent’s garden. We walked on paths with timeless alpine meadows and vistas. We listened to the Franco-provençal dialect of patois, and we heard stories only mountain men can share about great ascents, the ebb and flow of mountain villages and the families that live and die at the base of such majesty.
It is safe to say we pick prosciutto and arugula pizza over the candy store any day!