Having been away from Italy for the whole of winter, it was a pleasure to return to familiar haunts. We swept up the accumulated drifts of dead insects and cobwebs, noting with relief that the flat had survived another winter, and set off to see if anything had changed in the village.
Sadly, family run businesses continue to close, but one green grocer’s shop has now been taken over by two sisters and turned into a trattoria. Naturally we had to give it a try. It seems that the noisy drinking crowd from the wine bar on our corner, which had closed, had decamped to the bar in this trattoria, so it was busy with a lot of familiar figures as well as some new ones. These newcomers looked like a bunch of pirates, wearing exotic printed scarves around their heads and all of them with earrings and wide boots. Just to add a final touch of authenticity, the lively group sitting at the table next to us had a parrot with them. It perched on their shoulders, or on chairs. As it was on a lead, it also went for little walks across the floor. As far as I know, it doesn’t speak Italian or anything else, but it does offer baci (kisses) which I declined.
The food, incidentally, was very good, and great value. My tortellini stuffed with cream cheese and wild herbs in a walnut sauce was scrumptious! My minder had roast pheasant, what appeared to be the whole bird, so we took the remains back with us to make an excellent risotto the following day.
Life in Italy continues to be full of surprises.