Verona & Garda
November 1 to 3, 2002

Report by Andrea Dolfino

Sitting: Paola, Eros, Christoph, Antonio, Marco. Andrea and Lizzie in the back row.

November 1, 2002 - 2 pm

A typical autumn afternoon, grey colours outside ... but something special was going to happen. “One by one” the participants arrived – by car, by train, by plane – and we began the “cometogether” at my home having tea, coffee and cake, moving after a while to a good Italian Valpolicella red wine. The afternoon passed sharing our LC stories, exchanging opinions and information, admiring some collectors’ items and remembering, the magical Hydra experience ... all this ... listening to Leonard’s music and watching videos. a very nice, warm atmosphere ...

I haven’t mentioned yet the visit by Mariano, whose presence we all appreciated very much. His passion for Cohen (and, of course, Fabrizio de André) was tangible and enriched our event in a special way.

Towards the evening hours, we all moved to the Agriturism “Ca Verde” in the Valpolicella valley where the Leonard Cohen Meeting was to take place and where those coming from outside Verona stayed for the two days.

Whilst waiting for the music group, Andrea Malavolti Trio (though they were actually a quartet!) to prepare the stage, we continued our chatting, drinking aperitifs and enjoying our time being together. Happy that finally our meeting was now a reality.

We sat down to a delicious Italian dinner at 8.30pm, which we all enjoyed – except for Christoph, who doesn’t like mushrooms and there were a lot of them in the meal! During a break in the many courses, Lizzie read a poem which was dedicated to us from Peter Needham (from the chatroom). Grazie Peter.

At about 10pm, we moved to a huge heated tent, where the music evening started. Our excellent Italian musicians performed some Leonard Cohen songs in Italian (translated by them), some in English and, of course, some versions of Fabrizio de Andrè’s.

The “highlight” was, of course, our passionate mediterranean Antonio with his version of “Chelsea Hotel” and “Avalanche”. Bravissimo!!!

The night went on ...

November 2

In the late morning, we went together to Verona town for sightseeing. We visited the Arena, a couple of churches and walked around until it was time to have a pizza, which we chose to eat sitting outside (in November!) in the marvellous “Piazza dei Signori” (also called Piazza Dante).

In the evening, we returned to the Agriturism, where we had another excellent dinner (without mushrooms) in a private dining room and where we enjoyed our second Leonard Cohen night. We listened to LC music (though this time from just a simple cd player), to LC’s poems read by Lizzie and we played the quiz Antonio had organized for the event and where we could prove (or not prove) our LC knowledge!

November 3

Some tepid sunbeams were still in the sky and we visited the Garda Lake area, a lovely place called “Punta San Vigilio” where Paola’s labrador Jarkko had a long swim and made us jealous not being able to join him in the clear water. To close our tour we had a small walk in Garda and enjoyed an aperitif in a bar sitting outside by the lake. Just when it was time to go it started to rain slightly and we drove home where my husband, Marco, was waiting with a good risotto cooked by him.

Marco, Eros, Paola, Andrea, Lizzie, Antonio

We all knew it was “closing time” but to sweeten this bitter moment we had a delicious dessert called Tiramisu (means ‘pull me up’) also prepared by Marco ... and which had a special effect on Lizzie.

Thanks to all,
Andrea (Verona)