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As luck would have it we made the acquaintance of Gianni Pistori last weekend.  A man of wide and varied interests (rally driving, stamp collecting) he is a pyrotechnic expert.  In fact this year it was he who lit the Castello in Rapallo on June 3.  He began his work at 3:30 a.m. and finished at 2 a.m. the next morning – long work day.

We also learned that one of the Sestieri wins the fireworks competition and one, San Michele this year, loses.  The judges are all the experts who organize and set off the endless fireworks displays.  I’m uncertain what, if anything other than honor, the winning team receives.  The losers are given a large plastic toad.  I’ve been unable to get a photograph of the toad yet, but if I can get one I’ll be sure to share it.  When last heard of, the toad had been carried (by Gianni, who else?) up to Montallegro where it will reside in amphibian splendor and solitude until next year.

Thank you Tay and Gianni for all this useful and amusing information!