This time the alarm goes off before dawn, with still sleepy eyes we find ourselves at the Perugia station, backpacks on our shoulders, for our new adventure “meeting our still unknown friends at PizzAut”. Even the excitement of the journey charges us up, different from all the previous ones, without parents (at least for some). Meanwhile, Giacomo, who has a special connection with means of transportation, greets the incoming train that responds by flashing. He knows the trains and the trains know him.
Finally arrived, what a great Milano Centrale, so many people moving fast. For us, it’s a bit overwhelming and gives us a bit of anxiety, but our anchors are with us, the president and vice-president of “La Brigata Indipendente”, the two Valentines, nothing can go wrong. We start looking for the subway and tickets, “how does it work??” A bit complicated for those who are not used to urban mobility… but in the end, not too difficult.
Metro Red Line, we get off at the Duomo stop and take advantage of an unplanned first stop: “a visit to the Cathedral and a trip to the rooftop” with the pleasant surprise of being welcomed for free, all of us and our guides … it’s the inclusive spirit of this big and beautiful city (the staff at the ticket office were very kind, nice, and patient … all we need is this … thank you). “La Madunina” is even more beautiful up close, breathtaking … ooohhh how high we are … wowww. A bit of healthy vertigo adds to the bouquet of emotions on this adventure.
We now walk to satisfy our curiosity about the “Museum of Dreamers”, which intrigued us so much with its social media presentation; “who knows how it will be in person??” It’s so peculiar, so “strange” … definitely unexpected … but fun and the visit flows pleasantly. Dreamers photo before leaving and we continue our journey towards Gorgonzola.
We take the Red Metro line with a change at Milan Central; we take the Green line towards Gorgonzola. Along the way, Giacomo, as always, has time to study routes, stops, and schedules in detail. A guarantee of safety for our future travels. After about fifteen minutes, we get off and walk to the B&B “La Foresteria Sirio”. The owner, Mrs. Daniela, welcomes us and shows us to our rooms; everything is clean and welcoming… we are satisfied with our choice.
Now another highly anticipated part of this adventure, the meeting with Fausto (a friend of friends) who invited us to dinner with the promise of local specialties without even knowing us (you don’t know, but it takes a bit of courage and madness to invite a group like ours, you don’t know what to expect and the “popular culture” on autism doesn’t help… it’s rather coarse and inaccurate). We are too many for one car so Fausto arrives with Luca (his good friend)… 2 are enough. The doors of the Gerosa house open, so warm and welcoming (even if in those parts they sometimes don’t know they are), as time passes everything becomes easy and relaxed, the Gongonzola cheese risotto (more local specialty than this) takes shape in the skillful hands of Fausto who masters the technique and tradition. It’s a pleasure to watch him prepare those “simple” dishes (for those who know how to make them), together we set the table and finally we eat and before that, Fausto arranges the following morning for us with a phone call to his friend Cinzia… but we’ll talk about that later. Along with the specialties of the Gerosa house (rice, Paciarella cake, and “7 fruits” fruit salad), we add the Perugina culture with the famous torta al testo “Cimbali production”, homemade by our vice president with Umbrian DOC capocollo (in local dialect “coppa”). We ate a lot and well… after some chatting, the fatigue from a long, full, and different day inevitably arrives. To digest, we walk back home and Fausto accompanies us to say goodnight. The lights go out on the first half of the journey, goodnight to everyone.
It’s morning, and slowly we’re ready to start off with “enthusiasm”… that’s just an expression; we pack our backpacks again, say goodbye to Daniela at the B&B, who we thank for the excellent accommodation. We have breakfast at the bar and then walk to Fausto’s place again, who once again, together with the very kind Luca, accompanies us to “Cà del Don” where his friend Cinzia, together with Franco and Angela, take care of people with disabilities and their families. A wonderful place, just like the people who founded it, make it work, and welcomed us with so much warmth. An example of how right it is to believe in any project that aims for the well-being of anyone living in a condition of fragility… just like our project. After a nice moment of exchange, and some inevitable emotion, we say goodbye with a hug and the promise to meet again.
Now, off to the main purpose of this trip, the meeting with the boys from PizzAut and their volcanic beating heart “Nico Acampora”… now a ubiquitous multimedia star demonstrating that commitment and trust are the indispensable foundation on which to build any possible future. Our faithful companion Fausto is with us, as always, this time supported by Angelo from “Cà del Don” whom we thank. We arrive, enter curiously, almost timidly, and certainly excited. We communicate our reservation and are assigned a table. We notice that boys like us welcome us, in their own way, they are working, we observe them. “They are really working… but then it is possible”, it is really possible. We try to notice the details, to understand why it works here, “what is different??” And yet everything flows, without pretending that diversity doesn’t exist. The difference is there, it exists, “so what?”. Just accept ourselves and everything is possible. The order is taken… some difficulty? … maybe, but nothing that cannot be manageable with the will to understand each other. That’s how it should always be… with everyone… for everyone. Understanding, availability, and a little patience (not even that much)… “what does it take??” Perhaps it’s the world that creates distance, a distance that serves no purpose and doesn’t help anyone. We are all together to give what we have to give, in the way we know and can do it. At the end of the meal, our president asks to say goodbye to Nico and his boys, we are satisfied with what we have seen and understood… at that point, it’s Nico who asks us to wait because he wants to meet us. He joins us at the table, talks to us, tells us about his experience, listens to us… another important exchange on an already rich trip. Then the goodbyes… but wait… it’s not over yet, Nico asks us to wait until the service is over. He joins us outside the restaurant and dedicates a Facebook live to us, we are happy about this openness that allows us to make ourselves and our project known. Thank you PizzAut… you have nurtured the trust in our means and possibilities, we will also treasure this. Goodbye.
Now it’s time for another farewell… the most “intense” one… saying goodbye to Fausto who welcomed us, pampered us and took care of us… far beyond any expectation or assumption. It would have been enough to show his friendship and kindness with much less… but Faustino is like that… those who know him know it… he says he gives you the bare minimum and then hugs you with his big heart. So, we pay our debt… we overwhelm him with our “GROUP HUG” triggered by Federica’s call, who is definitely the quickest among us to understand what is needed to make others feel good. We all throw ourselves on Fausto who struggles to remain standing with 4 happy furies on him… but he manages and responds to our warmth. Thank you for everything dear Fausto… you won’t get rid of us. We will definitely see each other again… sooner or later.
Now it’s time to take the long route back, the Green Metro and train home. We relax on the seats of public transport, talk, remember, laugh, and also feel a little melancholic, as it always happens when you experience something beautiful and meet someone you’ve enjoyed being with. Tired but full of beautiful emotions and sensations that we will tell at home, in our own way… for a long time, as we like it.
BRIGATAAAA… to the next adventure.