Archive for November, 2013

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Knowing the inevitability of what was to come – spending six weeks in a country where the language was as foreign to me as I was to its inhabitants – Mi dispiace, non parlo Italiano (I’m sorry, I don’t speak Italian) became my mantra the weeks prior to leaving for Italy.  You see, I feel it’s important to immediately ingratiate myself to the locals when visiting a foreign land.  When I visited France a number of years ago, Je suis désolé de vous déranger, (insert monsieur, madame, mademoiselle) je ne parle pas français. Parlez-vous anglais? was my go to greeting.  With the French, I added “I’m sorry to bother you,” because a book I read prior to visiting said that knowing before hand that I was, in fact, bothering them would endear me to the French.

And so I set out on my own through the streets of Tivoli and into the shops.  After the salutation, “Ciao. Buon giorno,” I immediately followed with, “Mi dispiace, non parlo Italiano,” my request for forgiveness for not speaking Italian.  This admission was received with mixed reactions.  Sometimes a kind purveyor would give me the Italian shrug as if to say “eh, no big deal.”  Other times, oh, let’s say at the Rispa (a small market) the cashier would glare at me and spin the cash register mount around so I could see what I owed, all the while speaking to me in Italian.  At Piadina Piu, the lovely ladies became so familiar with the American who apologized every time she entered the shop, they just laughed and waited for me to fumble through my order, which was the same every time.  “Cento Sessanta Nove.”  Translation: 169 – a sublime combination of greens and melted scamorza encased in a grilled unleavened wrap.  The best street food to be found in Tivoli and only 3 euros.IMG_0508

Then there were the strangers on the street, like the elderly woman who was miffed because someone had illegally parked on the narrow street and she had to move around the car into oncoming traffic (and that’s a whole other blog post).  She turned to me to express her displeasure to which I replied, “Mi dispiace, signora, non parlo Italiano.”  She just laughed as if I must be joking, and continued talking.  The only word I recognized was cavalli (horses), so I’m not sure if she was calling me a horse,horse - Copy or telling me it was easier in the old days when they rode horses, or if she was calling the guy who parked the car a horse’s ass.  All of these possibilities were running through my head when I decided to try out the Italian shrug, with the added extension of the arms and opening of the hands, which is to say, “what are you gonna do?”

My favorite daily encounter took place on the street leading to our piazza behind St. Lorenzo.  Weather permitting, this happy gentlemen greeted me coming and going from my appointed rounds with song and a “buon giorno, bella signora.”

IMG_0544And the best part: I never felt I had to apologize.


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Home From The Land Of Ps

?????????????????????????????????Dear readers, I have returned from a six week sojourn to Italy – the land of Ps – Pasta, Polenta, Prosciutto, Pomodoro, Pesch, Piadini, Pizza, Parmigiano,  Pecorino, Proseco, Piazza, Palazzo, Paparazzi and the Pope, and I have stories to tell you.  Over the coming weeks, during the time of darkness that has begun its descent upon the Pacific Northwest, I will share my experiences of village life, couture, television, food and various subjects that have yet to surface due to sleep deprivation.

To get things off to a tempting start, let’s begin with the Antipasto course.


IMG_0347 - Copy  A sampling at Viva L’Oste

IMG_0349 - CopyA plate of bruschetta to accompany a luscious glass of Kurni 2010 Oasi degli Angeli enjoyed at Enoteca Properzia in Spello

DSCF5008And finally, a sumptuous array served at Ristorante Sibilla sitting at the site of the ruins of the Temple of Vesta.





































Happy diners: Anna, me, DZ, and Angelo












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