There was still plenty of time left to the day so we piled into Gianni’s car and drove to Brovello, a teensy town in the hills above Stresa further up the west side of Lago Maggiore.
This town is where we believe the original Brovelli’s in antiquity had originated. As we walked up and down the narrow streets, Gianni kept looking at names on mailboxes, but strangely didn’t find any Brovelli’s. Finally, he asked a couple of different people and they told us most of the Brovelli’s now lived in a couple of towns further down the road: Carpugnino and Gignese, the latter of which is known for its umbrella museum.
(I might add that Ranco and the neighboring town of Angera have more Brovelli’s than anywhere else. On a previous trip we had dropped off a load of laundry to be cleaned. We wondered why the clerk hadn’t ask for our name and we later mentioned it to Gianni. He responded, “Why would they? They know you must be a Brovelli — everyone here is!” It seems to just about be the truth!)
In Brovello, it was sprinkling off and on, so we flipped open umbrellas as we continued our exploration of the quiet, empty streets.
Just as we were leaving, we came upon the cemetery. Thinking we may find some Brovelli’s there, we went in. We saw very few — there are far more Brovelli’s in the Ranco and Angera cemeteries.
However, one monument gave us pause. Covered with flowers, stuffed animals, pictures, and notes, we learned it was the grave of a girl in her early 20’s who had been killed a year ago. Sadly, we studied her photo, a sunny face that beamed back at us in the prime of her youth. As we drove away, we saw a young lady walking into the cemetery, heedless of the rain. The similarity to the girl in the picture was striking and we guessed it may have been her sister.