Driving to Anghiari from Arezzo was as familiar as driving to work back in Atlanta. The prostitutes along the road, the place where the road narrows, the place where the road expands to four lanes – it’s all so innate.
We met Giovanni and Stefano at the Busatti store and Stefano took us to our old apartment. Home. Just before we went in, we saw several neighbors – Maria, the older woman across the way with the beautiful garden; Elisabetta, the shop owner just across the street with the big booming voice; “Stricky”, who lives across the alley; and Giampietro, who lives a couple of doors down. It was a great reunion and we said our memorized Italian greetings and good to see you agains and had a great time hugging and air kissing out in the alley.
The old apartment is just the same, but we both felt the huge hole caused by the absence of Millie. Coming here made us miss her so much and wish she was here to experience this place again that she loved so much. But she’s safe at home back in Atlanta and we have all our old memories to remind us of her.
Dinner was at Michelangelo and Rossella’s Saturday night. Anna, their daughter cooked and it was a very unique dish. Not Italian at all – curry. It was good and very unexpected – and I do love curry so it was a nice surprise. After a great visit with them, we drove home in the rain and spent our first night in our old home. And slept wonderfully.
Sunday we slept late and got up and took a long walk. It was one of our favorite walks when we lived here – past the city walls, by the cemetery, and through the tobacco fields. It’s a walk that we used take several times a week and involves going down the hill that Anghiari sits atop, walking through the coutryside, then climbing the hill back up to town. The most direct route is only about two miles, but it’s a very strenuous two miles. It felt good to do it and we were both amazed that we used to do it several times a week.
Later we met Rossella and Michelangelo in Monterchi for the Sagra di Polenta. Our first festival! Polenta creamy with meat sauce, grilled with prosciutto, grilled with sausage or fegatello (pigs innards), of just plain old polenta. And french fries. It was a corn meal feast and we devoured it.
Sunday night we had dinner at La Nena, one of our favorite restaurants in Anghiari. It was, as usual, wonderful. I remember that we used to think, “Oh, we should eat light tonight – let’s have meat and no pasta”. Well, that’s what we felt like after our polenta lunch. Only in Italy do you consider eating light having grilled meat! But we did and it was divine. I had a pork chop and Steve had lamb. Oh, and fried porcini mushrooms. We’re right at the end of the season for them. Lucky us.