I had to return to Italy last week to pay the dreaded property tax. The weather was perfect, and the place very peaceful after the bustle of tourists in August, although I usually manage to avoid them in summer by steering clear of Venice, the lakes and the coast.
The highlight of the week was a day in Vicenza, home of Palladio, (not many people know that his real name was Signor Gondola) and was reminded all over again how lovely the town is, with its elegant buildings and pedestrian streets. There was a Sunday market which I greatly enjoyed, although I was annoyed with myself for not having mentioned it in my latest piece on flea markets for Italy Magazine.
It was gratifying to see how much they expected to sell pieces of Wedgewood for, when the ones I bring from England for my Cose Inglesi stall have been bought from car boot sales for next to nothing. I bought some crystals from broken chandeliers which will make sparkling decorations for my Christmas tree, and a votive object, a stomach in flat silvery tin, presumably offered in thanks for a recovery from a stomach ailment. I have a small collection of these: eyes, legs, arms… There are breasts too, and I regret not having bought them when I saw them in Sicily.
We had lunch, an Italian friend and I, in a small cafe on a balcony overlooking the main square opposite Palladio’s masterpiece, the Basilica. Perfect!