Two days ago security at the palace was heightened dramatically – the national police – the Carabinieri were stationed at the gate monitoring people coming in and going out. Sniffer dogs were wandering around. It was all very James Bond. Yesterday morning the banquet hall where I partake of breakfast was closed off and we were shunted to a less grand – but still stunning – room for our boiled eggs.
What could it be? A wedding I suspected But whose wedding. Someone important clearly. Is Berlusconi single right now? Is some innocent 19 year old being sent to his musky, facelifted lair?
After another day of pretending to be high-powered, where everyone congratulated each other and gave voice to their inner Joan Collins, we returned in the evening to prepare for dinner in the castle on the hill.
Dinner was majestic. My stomach will also be majestic by the time I return. I have refused no food. And I am in Italy.
Arriving back at the castle our taxi was stopped. The cop looked in the window and barked at me ‘What is your room number?’ I gulped and replied.
‘And your name?’ I replied.
‘I don’t carry ID, I am Irish.’
He shrugged and let me pass.
Arriving into the hotel I looked around the lobby. Every man visible – with the exception of the hotel staff were wearing Jewish skull caps.
‘Ooooh is this the wedding?’ I thought.
I went to the bar for a nighttime beer. The crisps on the counter had a non-kosher sign beside it.
The whiskey bottles were kosher however.
‘What a relief’ I thought.
I know about kosher booze – my only prior trip to Italy was to accompany a rabbi to an alco-pop bottling plant, so the drink could be certified kosher. I had an interesting job once.
I had my beer. I went to bed.
I opened the Google. Apparently the palace was being hired in its entirety for Passover. I think this holy day is related to the jewish flight from Egypt in the bible – don’t quote me on that though.
That explained all the New Jersey accents – they were on a religious holiday. According to the travel website there were forums and religious ceremonies and activities. The security was incredibly strict.
The carabinieri have my name.