Summary: Chapter 1
In the opening of the chapter, the main character Vittorio describes the story that the book is written about. It has a beginning that occurred on a hot July day in the year 1960 in Vittorio’s home town of Valle de Sole, when his mother, Christina got bit by a snake. Vittorio describes his city as to have no holy places, ancient cites or ruins; forgotten and unsung, just like hundreds of villages spread throughout Italy. Vittorio describes how his father immigrated to America almost four years ago when Vittorio was barely three years old. His grandfather was left crippled from the war when a horse crushed his foot and he was injured by a grenade. That day, his mother slipped out of the house making him promise that he would read his school books. Vittorio’s attendance at school was not very regular because he would spend much of class time wondering to the top of Colle di Papa or down the river with his friend Fabrizio and sharing cigarettes that Fabrizio had stole from his father.
Vittorio was sitting on his porch reading math books when he dose off. He was awakened by a muffled shout coming from the stable. Vittorio ran to the stable and stopped short at the bottom of the steps and peeked through the crack in the door. Inside he saw a green snake which slipped through the cracks of the stable and into the tomato garden. While Vittorio was watching the snake, the barn door opened, and a man with blue eyes swooped out of the stable. After Vittorio went inside the stable, he saw his mother pouring water into the pigs’ trough as though nothing has happened. Vittorio tells his mother that he heard a man screm and when she asked him what he saw, Vittorio replied that he didnt see anything. He then told her that she has blood on her ankle. In the conclusion of the chapter, Christina tells Vittorio to run up to Di Lucci’s and tell him to bring a car because she had been bitten by a snake.