Peeking into private property might not immediately top the to-do list when you think of Italy, but at the Festa delle Corti, a look into the open-air courts/courtyards of various buildings and dwellings is exactly what this celebration is all about. This event has managed to elude us in the past, so I’m glad we finally got to see for ourselves a part of Garlate that isn’t visible from the main highway.
A whimsical detail about this festival is the painted shoe print that weaves a path through narrow alleys, courtyards, the church and even to the top of Garlate where a pretty view of the lake can be seen. The route also enables visitors to take in exhibitions on display in each court, from vintage motorbikes to an ancient wine press and live silk worms! Refreshment stops were stationed frequently along the route, and one was actually an active part of it (they deliberately had you walking past the cooking/dining area, and right on by the animal pens). If it weren’t so strange to get a whiff of goats and sheep after having inhaled the aroma of grilled food, I’d say this path was plotted by little blond Billy himself.
The most curious display was the one where silkworms, at different stages of growth, were happily munching away on mulberry leaves. Silk production has a long history in Lecco, Como and other areas. Farmers from way back then were obligated to plant mulberry trees and raise silkworms for the owners of the land that they cultivated. I vaguely remember a story about MotH’s grandfather (or great grandfather?) as a young boy and having to collect leaves for the worms. If I remember correctly he also slept in the room where the worms were kept. Below: silk cocoons.