Each fall, we invite the families of our students to visit the school. This allows for parents to see the school, meet with teachers and dons, and most importantly, reunite with their sons and daughters.
The Parent Visit takes place over three weekdays, starting with a casual meet-and-greet on Wednesday evening, and finishing with parent-teacher interviews on Friday. Many families then take advantage of the weekend to travel together, and, for our Canadian families, celebrate Thanksgiving.
The day before interviews, we offer a tour of the area. This year, we began the tour with a visit to a nearby winery. Abruzzo's most common wine comes from the abundant red Montepulciano grape. In the first step of the process, farmers have these grapes weighed and tested for quality.
From there, the grapes are dumped into a destemming machine. The vines from the red grapes are further processed at a different location to be used in cleaning products. The stems from the white grapes however, will be distilled into Italy's famous digestif: grappa.
The head of operations, Nicola, invited us inside the cantina to tell us about the production of various wines. He first showed us a fine powder, called diatomaceous earth, used to filter the juices of white grapes.
We then reached two smaller rooms where Nicola and his team age wine in a more classic manner. The first room contained bottles of sparkling white spumante. The next room held large oak barrels where the Montepulciano was absorbing the flavors of the wood.
Of course, no wine tour is complete without a tasting.
Afterward, we headed to the coast to visit a trabocco. Trabocchi date back to the 1700s. They are complex structures made of pine logs, designed to allow fishermen to catch fish even in rough seas. These days, the trabocchi are no longer relied on for fishing, but have been restored because of their historical importance. The one we visited, Punta Cavalluccio, has been converted to a restaurant, and it was here that we enjoyed lunch.
On our way back to Lanciano, we stopped at San Giovanni in Venere. Originally, this hilltop was the site of a temple of Venus. Around 540 CE, the temple was replaced with a monastery.
I would personally like to thank all of the families that were able to visit us in Lanciano. Meeting the families of our young people is always a joy. For those who could not make it, I hope to meet you soon!