19 Jul,2017 By Jagabond
“There you’ll find the place I love most in the world. The place where I grew thin from dreaming. My village, rising from the plain. Shaded with trees and leaves like a piggy bank filled with memories. You’ll see why a person would want to live there forever. Dawn, morning, mid-day, night: all the same, except for the changes in the air. The air changes the color of things there. And life whirs by as quiet as a murmur…the pure murmuring of life.” – Juan Rulfo
Beautifully said. When I moved to Naples, I thought I’d be living in the big city and learning to enjoy the chaotic Neapolitan life. I spent a few hours downtown before I reached a conclusion…it was too much chaos for me. It wasn’t just the driving, but the industrial look to the city that precluded it from ever being called anything but gritty. It was more like Tirana, Albania than any Italian urban area I’d been to previously.
Enter the Avellino Province, and a little village called Quadrelle. Not all of the quote above relates to my village, but certain aspects do. I certainly don’t want to live here forever, but I admit the tranquility draws me here. Whenever I drive from Naples to my home, a calm comes over me when I take the exit that leaves the choking exhaust fumes and clogged freeways for the serenity of the mountainous countryside.
What specifically do I love?
1. Sunsets are better in a village
Why is this? In the case of Quadrelle, the mountain backdrop and absence of tall buildings help. This picture was taken from the top terrace of my house, a place where sunset views like this are a daily occurrence.
2. Enjoy the interesting wildlife
There are three types of dogs here. Domesticated dogs live inside a home, strays live solely on the street, and the half-strays are a hybrid that look taken care of, and maybe spend some time inside, but largely remain outdoors.
Don’t worry, I’m not one of those crazy people who carries dog treats in their backpack to feed the strays. No wait, I do that. My favorites are Peppina, my neighbor who guards a wood pile, Cappuccino, a dog who begs for food through a fence, and an unnamed limping stray who always follows me.
If dogs aren’t your thing, keep your eyes open and you might just see some horses clopping along the streets!
3. Share in the local pride
Quadrelle is positioned like the point of a triangle with two other villages – Sirignano and Mugnano del Cardinale. Going for an afternoon walk can lead to unknowingly crossing these village boundaries. Even with their close proximity, residents from each proudly declare their affiliation. There is even an annual football tournament with these three villages and two others.
4. Become an expert on all the restaurants
You can count the number of restaurants here on one hand. My routine developed quickly, and I now have a simplistic pattern for eating. Fantasia has the best pizza in the village, an amazing pasta with clams, and the best service (thanks to you, Giacomo).
Liberty Pub boasts the fastest WiFi connection, an array of antipasto plates, and a great selection of brew. The third tap over shown below is Chouffe, my favorite Belgian beer.
Reserva Pub has the best steak in the village. This region isn’t known for its beef, but Reserva imports a fine Argentine cut.
5. Find the local pub
Why fly to Vegas when you can walk to the ‘Las Vegas Club’? I was struck when I initially started coming here. The clientele is 98% male, and it’s clearly not a gay bar. I started to think women were prohibited from entering. I eventually witnessed some angry village wives enter in search of their husbands.
They play an odd game of billiards here with no pockets. ‘Three ball’ is popular in only a few European countries, and involves strategically drawing your opponent to knock over ‘pins’ placed in the center of the table.
6. Develop strong opinions on which market has fresher vegetables
We have two main markets here, Eurospin and Conad. Both are chains that are prevalent throughout this region. Because of the odd opening hours, and my previously declared aversion to cooking, it took me months to determine the best one. Eurospin wins this death match, as it’s larger with a better selection of deli meats, fruits and vegetables.
7. Live in a big house
More remote areas usually equate to living in a larger place. Being inherently messy, I like more square footage as I can isolate my junk to a few, uninhabited rooms. John Mellencamp sang about pink houses, and I rented one.
I love the terraces on every floor, the front and back yards, and the gigantic downstairs family room with a table that could easily seat ten or more. I need more friends to truly see the potential of this place!
8. Because Tripadvisor lists no sights you can make up your own
Quadrelle isn’t even listed anywhere online. There are no ‘must see’ attractions here, but a stroll around town reveals some interesting things. For cemetery lovers, there is a nice one near the entrance to the village.
I also found a pretty, private vineyard, a religious statue at the bottom of the hill, and a street mural near my house.
9. No one knows where you live
Who doesn’t like to be different? When everyone lives in the city, it’s kinda neat to live somewhere no one has heard of. In fact, many Italians have never heard of Quadrelle. This means you never have to host, and have an instant excuse for not going downtown. You must also be comfortable with your alone time. Small villages like this aren’t kind to English speakers, so prepare for lots of introspection.