Vila Velha, that beach with very Italian names
I have the chance, fortunate, to speak often with other fans in Brazil and with friends who have experienced adventures with me in the great South American country, where wonder often contrasts with situations on the verge of survival. Nobody wants to deny the problems that exist, including security, on the football world cup, but knowing the Brazilian people I think that in the end the event will be a success!
I was saying about the many talks with Brazil fans. I met another one, days ago, and it reminded me of a valuable, peaceful place of great beauty and natural charm. It is Vila Velha, which extends on a beach not far from Vitoria, the capital of Espirito Santo, a small state that divides on the coast that of Rio de Janeiro (just as small, actually) from that of Bahia, enormously more extended.
Both Vitoria and Vila Velha are now cities that enclose both historical places and modern buildings and commercial activities. Divided by a bridge between the Ilha de Vitoria (the capital city is surrounded by the waters of the Rio Santa Maria delta) and the mainland, they constitute an urban agglomeration that exceeds the total of eight hundred thousand inhabitants.
Their peculiarity also sees them linked to Italy: it is a region densely populated by Italians, who arrived here at the end of the nineteenth century to work in the port, in the coffee houses and in general in agriculture and construction. Venetians, Lombards and Trentino are the most present communities. And it is precisely Vila Velha that is the nucleus of this Italian community, so much so that the municipality (which alone has 415 thousand inhabitants) considers the Italian ethnic language to have a particular status as regards its teaching and consideration. In fact, along avenida Vitoria and Rodovia do Sol, which cross the craft and commercial areas of the two towns, the signs of supermarkets and warehouses recite well-known surnames. I remember a series of De Filippis that demonstrate the Venetian part of the descent, while the Municipality of Vitoria is twinned with Mantua.
We arrived in Vitoria and Vila Velha in January 1985, during a long journey between Rio de Janeiro and Teixeira de Freitas, in the State of Bahia, where we were headed to spend a few days in a fazenda of which the father was co-owner. of his friend Massimo. There were four of us and we took the bus north from Rio de Janeiro station, and I had never seen one so huge before. We arrived at dawn after a very fun night spent studying passengers one by one.
From the bus station in Vitoria we took a vehicle that went to Vila Velha and found that the house that would host us for a couple of days, owned by another Italian who had business in Brazil, was an apartment in the condominium do Edificio Albino Luciani, on the avenida Antonio Gil Veloso, along the Praia da Costa; just a palace dedicated to the Pope who died after 33 days on Peter's throne. The edge is long, the white beach, the transparent water; as in Rio there are as in Rio all the possible tools for gymnastics, jogging or pedaling is also a very popular pastime, like playing futebol in every possible corner, whether it has concrete or earth or sand. It was two days of sunshine and good food. We recovered in Vila Velha the means to move north, which was a pick up, which I saw on that occasion for the first time and knew well in the other two thousand kilometers traveled, many in the body behind ...
In Vitoria I experienced for the first time the rodizio of meat on the spit, a pleasure and above all a semi-indigestion for so long that the meat was good and was served on our dishes, cut directly from the spit, with plenty of steps by the waiters, not even disturbed by our denials. And, on another occasion, we experimented with an Arab restaurant, also exquisite. Now a restaurant called Antartica is in vogue: good quality and adequate prices for a much deserved popularity. I hope one day to be able to return to Vila Velha, the trip from Rio or Belo Horizonte is not so exaggerated, and that slightly Italian air, those names that appear on every corner and that bring back to our land, are pleasing. There are no league games here in the Espirito Santo, but those who want to rest from the efforts of cheering can find the ideal environment in Vila Velha. With plenty of coconut water.
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