Monday, September 11, 2023

Ernie's Very Milito Tour

I wasn't sad overall to leave the airbnb in Naples as it was so hot and the AC was so weak.

I will give the place style points though. There was a lot of cool glass art in various places. This was the light over the dining table.

The door had some cool colored glass in them as well that caught the light.

Napoli has notoriously bad traffic but we managed to survive.

I was happy to be leaving the splash zone of Mt. Vesuvius.

I just typed "Milito" in Google Maps and found a couple of places to stop on our road trip. As we neared Salerno I was really excited to spot a truck on the highway.

Gruppo Milito!

We stopped for food at Milito Bistrot in Salerno.

I thought it was cool that they had the Milito coat of arms on the menus.

I spotted a Delizie al Limone in the case and was forced to participate. It's sort of a "sponge cake filled with a lemon cream, brushed with Limoncello syrup and covered in a lemon and whipped cream." 

There was a distracting episode of an Italian chef competition show on.

The restaurant got pretty crowded so I felt bad asking the staff if they were Militos. Oh well.

Before we left Salerno we popped over to our next stop on the Milito pilgrimage:
 Macelleria Giovanni Milito. Macellaio means "butcher". The place was very classic, as you can see the exterior was covered in handwritten advertisements.

I grabbed Il Bambino and headed in.

Giovanni was super nice. He was really excited and interested when we revealed we were Militos. He seemed to have a connection to the Militos in Chicago with the gas station and restaurant. We had a language barrier but still managed to have a nice conversation I think.

Giovanni seemed very proud of his family and had lots of photos everywhere.

He had one of those things posted with the Milito coat of arms and a history of the name. I have one of these as well. I feel like I may have bought it at the Illinois State Fair, where I get most of my historical research.

He mostly had giant cuts of raw meat that you would expect at a butcher shop but I managed to pick up some of his soppressata and some red wine to wash it down. He inconveniently does not do email or have a cellphone but he gave me his son's number. Better than nothing I suppose.

Gas station resting.

Mom was doing a good job of keeping Ern Dawg entertained on the long drive.

Last time we were in Cleto it was boiling hot and we stopped at like the one store in town, Alimentari Nicastro, to buy a bunch of ice cream. This time there were a bunch of guys hanging out in front of the shop. One of them, Pino, said he'd lived in Canada a bit and his English was good, so he served as a translator. I asked him if his name was short for pinot grigio but he didn't get the joke.

There was a fun little series of signs at points of interest.

I had hoped to get everyone up to the castle at the top of the mountain but I was carrying a very large baby and it is a pretty challenging climb by itself, I think. We did not make it to the summit but still got a great view of the olive groves that surround the town and the sun dipped below the horizon. 

Ernie didn't say it explicitly but I think that he felt at home in his ancestral land. I also think he was feeling lucky that he can't walk. This is a steep ass town. I imagine many of the people who emigrated just couldn't be bothered to walk back to their house anymore.

I've seen the legend of the naming of Cleto once before, on the wall of hotel room we stayed at. Sadly the hotel was closed for the season this time so we didn't have anywhere to stay the night in Cleto. Oh well. Legend:

"The current name, Cleto, has legendary origins that refer to ancient Greece, linked to the myth of the Amazons.

Cleta, nurse of Penthesilea (queen of the Amazons), having heard the news of her death, decided to undertake a journey to give her a worthy burial.

Due to contrary winds or wrong routes, she arrived on the Calabrian coasts where she founded a town, governed only by women and to which she gave her name.

Over the years, due to some political conflicts with the powerful Crotone, it had to face a tough battle.

After days and days of resistance the Queen, knowing that she could not defeat Crotone, decided to give herself up to save the city.

Her last wish, before dying, was that all sovereigns after her should be called Cleta.

In 1861, after the unification of Italy, the municipality changed from Petramala to Cleto, choosing the name from the legend."

Going up was difficult and it turned out that coming back down was pretty tricky as well. If I fell not only would I potentially crush Ernie but I would look very silly too.

We asked Pino for a restaurant recommendation and he did not do us wrong.

At Ristorante Amici Miei I pretty much ordered whatever the menu said was local. This was a traditional Calabresi tomato salad with onion, basil, oregano and olive oil.

They gave us this shredded what I assume is parmesan but it came with a very fresh looking pepper. I didn't know what to do with it so I ate it like a carrot to be funny. 

I also did the "mixed grill of local meat (beef, sausage and pork)".

The fried calamari had a different breading than I'm accustomed to. I ordered way too much food but there was just so much that I wanted to try.

Bambino Ernesto was in high spirits.

Their business card luckily had a map on it in case we got lost.

The place was a win.

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