Italy Odds and Ends

Everyone should ride in a cab at least once while in Italy. Yes, I know they’re expensive. Sure, the cabby might take advantage of the Americans by taking a longer route just to run up the fare. But truly, you haven’t experienced Italy until you’re bouncing down an insanely narrow street, filled with pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles all to a steady accompaniment of horns. If you’re inclined toward motion sickness, take a Dramamine and go. And no averting your eyes as you barrel toward a delivery van with wide mirrors, as a scooter zips in between you both. It beats Space Mountain any time. When our cabby delivered us to the train station yesterday I told him, “You’re an expert driver.” He grinned, shrugged, and rolled his eyes, a non-verbal acknowledgement that he was pleased I enjoyed the ride.


There are times when certain conditions converge and a single, happy moment is seared into your memory. For me, it happened on a narrow side street branching off from the Duomo in Florence. My companion and I were strolling hand-in-hand, having just come from the Uffizi Gallery. The sky was clear, the sun warm, but the street was cool in the shade of the close, high buildings. We were wondering what century they were built, and I noted that every single deep-set window had a box below thickly clustered with herbs. We passed a street-level, open backdoor leading to a restaurant kitchen, the smell of freshly baked bread and the oven’s heat wafting out to us. And then came a woman’s voice, shouting, “Stupido! Aw, STUPIDO!!” Yep, I really am in Italy.


Yes, I did Google how to use a bidet. Yes, now I want one at home.


However much my companion disapproves of the incredible churches to be found in Italy, I can’t help being moved on these soft, spring evening when their bells toll the Angelus. It is a call to prayer, and also a call to good will. Maybe we’d all be a little more calm, a little more civil, a little more kind if we took such a moment every single day.


My companion and I met for lunch today and walking back across the piazza, I saw a silver RV, awning up, selling beverages to a long line of customers. “Is that a beer truck in the middle of the square on an ordinary Wednesday afternoon?” I asked. “Yeah, it is.” My companion’s sigh was full of admiration. “God, I love it here.”

Beer truck in Perugia park


I did swim today in the new bathing suit I wrote about buying yesterday. And swimming above the Etruscan remains made it worth every painful minute. The pool is beautiful. There’s no hot tub, but it bows out on one end to make a seating area with powerful massaging jets. Two young ladies in bikinis immediately claimed the spot while I was swimming and, giggling, threw off their tops while they enjoyed the bubbling water. (Sorry guys, you’re only getting a picture of the beer truck.)

My companion says he might shop for some swimming trunks tomorrow. Stupido!

6 thoughts on “Italy Odds and Ends

  1. Wonderful vignettes, Mimi. I don’t know what me laugh more: the lady yelling “Stupido!” … or your companion’s sudden urge to buy a swimsuit.

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