Friday, November 9, 2012

when in rome.

When in Italy, in Rome, in the heart of all things romantic and ancient and bold, it is important to learn a few words of Italian.

So as to share with a fellow traveler the feeling of awe inspired by the quiet light of an early morning trip to the Pantheon.

Mandorla, Pistacchio, Nocciolo
So as to seek out and sample every variety of nut gelato you can find.

So as to explain to the gregarious and generous shopkeeper at the little neighborhood deli that you are embarking on a wee walking adventure and seek a grand but portable feast.

So as to indicate that you would like your coffee standing at the bar, please, for eavesdropping on locals and saving your euros.

For everything.

But most of all, you learn to hear bella.

Because on a dark wintery night six months on, when you've had too little sleep and a terrible day of writing. When you've received a rejection letter for yet another grant. When your husband has been overseas for too many weeks and you miss his cheer and his cooking. When you are dressed to the nines and on your way to a party but would quietly prefer just to hide away in bed, you will be waiting for a bus, and an Italian man - a stranger - will pull over in his car, roll down his window, and ask if you are Italian. He will proceed to tell you that seeing you waiting for that bus made his night, that that you are a very beautiful woman, and then drive away, shouting Ciao, bella! 

And thus he will leave you on cloud nine with a smile on your face and a bus ride full of memories of perfect biscotti, of sublime little churches, of cobblestone piazzas at dusk with a bottle of wine and two plastic cups, of simple pasta, of long strolls hand in hand with your love, so soon to return. A little dip back into a perfect summer week with the love of your life in Rome.

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