Doing the tour guide is passionating and rewarding. A beautiful and varied work, just like the world. And do we have to do almost daily with people from all latitudes that express different needs. Yes, because the tourist is not an alien but a mere mortal: of course, they usually ask for a good restaurant for dinner or where to find local products and souvenirs … or a bathroom to pee! But it also happens sometimes having to respond to special requests: one day, for example, I took to the pharmacy an old woman from Milan seized with a sudden conjunctivitis, to buy eye drops; once an Englishman asked me where to find gadgets of Matera football team, and another time it happened to give directions to a young couple from Abruzzo to reach the court, where the next day they had to testify at a trial for fraud (“Since we’re here, we took the opportunity to visit the city”).
In short, the guide is such a “first aid” for tourists. It happens, however, sometimes to get dumbfounded in front of a very special request. It was a beautiful day in late October, sunny and warm, perfect to let better appreciate the beauty of Matera to the elderly couple of Canadian tourists who had contacted me a few weeks earlier (you can see them in the picture).
In fact, at the end of the tour are enthusiastic: “Truly a wonderful experience at a great place. Thank you very much“. Then they greet me with affection, but before leaving the lady pulls out a piece of paper and hands it to her husband. That approaches me and says, “Congratulations for all and thanks again. But if you allow, we would like to ask one last favor”. Please, God forbid. “See, my wife is originally from Lucania, his grandparents were from Marsicovetere . We did an internet search and found that in that village there are still some relatives: here it says the address and the phone number of her cousin. We’re leaving tomorrow and we would go to visit them: we do not speak Italian, may you call her to ask if she remember us? “.
I remain a bit puzzled by the strange request, but then immediately take the phone and call the number: “Hello Mrs. Rosa?” “Yes, who is this?” “Look, I’m Luigi Mazzoccoli a guide of Matera, I was given your number by two Canadian gentlemen who say they are your distant relatives: do you have a cousin in Canada? “. “Yesss – confirms the lady without even suspecting a stupid joke (blessed genuineness of folks…) – the brother of my grandfather emigrated to Canada many years ago and now there is a niece of him”. And then this disaster happens: the demon of Raffaella Carrà takes possession of me! “So lady, hear me well: your Canadian cousin…is heeeeeeeeere!!!”.
You can imagine the joy and excitement I felt over the phone and I saw on the faces of my two guests. And we can imagine together the great little impromptu party that the next day will have animated the small town at the foot of the Pollino. Maybe with the band, the mayor with the tricolor flag and the inevitable big lunch with fresh pasta, sausages, cheese and lots of wine. In short, from Canada to Marsicovetere going from Matera. “Guided” by me. Who would have thought!