Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ciao Italia; Hello Oakland

We went to Florence with some guests, and I must say, Florence the end of October, is a delight.  The level of tourism is manageable for the city.  Store keepers actually greeted people as they came in the door. I love to walk around these big Italian cities.  Churches, museums, art everywhere, but still what draws me is the smells, and sights and sounds of human beings experiencing one of the most civilized cities in the word.  The Florentines are a very special breed.  Natural money people with a sense of style and an eye for the world around them.  We saw many Italians on holiday and naturally Americans.  I think most Americans are more comfortable in the larger cities where they know and understand tourism.  The food, like the city, is quite sophisticated.  The wine of course is excellent, and I must say that the bread is better than in Umbria.  Hate to say it, but I just have not been able to get used to that no salt tough Umbrian bread, torta al testo, not included in that evaluation.

We had a nice hotel with this view out our window; the Hotel Lugarno.  It was a good transition to hear everyone speaking English.  Florence is so much fun when it isn't a hassle.  The Stoic One bought a Swiss (Ulysee Nardin) watch he has been wanting for years.  I had never heard of the brand, but he found it on the Ponte Vecchio.

We still have not closed on apartment number 2 what with Max dying and all....sigh...more lessons in patience.  The attorneys say it will all happen, they just don't know when....

I will start back on this blog when I return.
Until that time.  Arrivederci and thank you for your interest to accompany me along the path.
I miss Italy already.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Making Italian Friends

Many people warned us that it would be very hard to make friends in Italy.  They said that Italians were standoffish and it was unlikely we would be invited into any one's home for a meal.  This has not been our experience.  My biggest problems with our Italian friends is that they are constantly trying to feed us, and as you can see from my photos, I am hardly underfed!

Antonietta has become my best friend.  She is so cute.  She is like a little bird, and she reminds me of my friend Lorraine.  So much so that whenever I see her, I grab her, and hug her, and kiss her.  Initially she seemed taken aback by my enthusiasm, but she seems to have gotten used to me.  Now her face lights up when I walk by her window, and she makes the constant gesture of "let's eat" as I pass by her window.

 When we go to town, she tucks my arm through the crook of her elbow and introduces me to all of her friends as the "americana." I have been introduced to her people at the market place, the shoe store, the butcher store and the "forno" or the bakery.  Everyone knows her, as her family has lived her for 300 years in the same house, if you can even imagine that!

She adores Gary because he rough houses with her grandsons, and because he is a good eater.  I told her Gary did all of the cooking so she made him come up to the kitchen to help her make "torta di testa" which is a type of bread that is made in this part of Umbria.  Gary had a ball, and Antonietta told me he was "bravo" to help.

When I look up at her window, I always hope that she is inside.