Ciao fioi!! @NinoFranco1919 enjoy my hometown #SanDiego!

marco barat

How could I not post this photo, sent to me last night by my good friend Marco Barat (right), who lives and sells Italian wine in my hometown, San Diego, and Silvia Franco, who works for her family’s winery, Nino Franco?

Silvia’s family recently had me for dinner at their home in Valdobbiadene and of course, we made the “Barat connection.”

They were “working the market” together yesterday in Southern California and they sent me their snapshot.

I’ll never forget the first time I met Marco at Vinitaly in 2006. As soon as he heard my padovano cadence in Italian, he pulled up a chair and we became fast friends.

His knowledge of Italian wines is rivaled only by the depth of his palate.

I’ll never forget that night in Cerea (Verona), at a Vias dinner, seven years ago. He told me about a strange producer on Mt. Etna who was making a wine called “Magma.” The world had yet to discover the wines of Frank Cornelissen, but Marco, like always, was way ahead of the curve.

Ciao fioi! Thanks for sending the photo and letting me know that you were thinking of me. It’s been a rough time over the last week here in Texas and it means the world to me that my friends are with me no matter how far away…


Ciao fioi is Veneto dialect for ciao ragazzi (literally, ciao figli or ciao daughter[s] and son[s]. When using the now universal salutation ciao, most don’t realize that it’s actually a Venetian word, from the Latin sclavus, meaning slave or servant. In sixteenth-century Venice, it was common to say [s]ciao, in other words, I am your servant.

Here’s a link to a note that I wrote about its origins and the difference between Italian and Veneto pronunciations.

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