It’s Sunday morning and that means porchetta at the Monterchi market. The Monterchi market is something else. It is more flea market or bazaar than fresh foods. They have that, too, but most of the stalls are clothes, toys, power tools, flowers, and chickens. Live chickens clucking away in little boxes.
We strolled through the market, had our porchetta panini, and watched the theater that is market day in Italy. Young mothers and older women are buying for their families on a mission to keep things running smoothly. Giacomo needs a new pair of shoes, Francesca needs new pants, everyone needs needs new socks. You can get it all here for not a lot of money. I’m sure the quality is not the greatest, but for families struggling to make it, this is a perfect solution. The men – well, let’s just say they’re on a mission, too. A mission of loving life and all it brings. They congregate around the porchetta trucks, munching away on panini and sipping the wine that flows from the jugs at the side of the trucks. A couple of small tables are set up in front of the porchetta trucks and they are populated by the old men who sit there for hours eating, drinking, and talking.
They’ve opened a tattoo parlor in Anghiari. We are starting to see a few tattoos here and there on the young people. Nothing like the body art that we see in the US, but small things on arms or legs. It was surprising to see a tattoo parlor in this little village, but I guess if people are getting tattoos, they have to be getting them somewhere. Curious – I’ve never seen it open.
We had dinner with Livio and Anna last night, along with their two little ones. Francesca who is almost four and Frederico who is 10 months. They wanted to meet at Gran Duca (the place Steve and I had dinner at the night before). This always happens with us. Invariably, someone will ask to dinner at the exact same restaurant we ate at the day before. Good thing we like it so much. We ate upstairs in what used to be the living room of our old apartment. It was a little nostalgic being in that room having dinner.
They’ve done a lot to the place and it looks brighter than when we were there. A lot of the heavy, dark furniture is gone and it actually makes a nice dining room. I was skeptical when I heard they were planning on using this space for the restaurant, but it really works. There’s one big table and one small table up there – we were at the big table and had the whole floor to ourselves most of the evening. This was perfect for the children, who could run or crawl around without disturbing anyone.
It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon as I sit on the terrace writing this. It’s about 71 degrees with a lovely breeze that makes it almost chilly when it blows. It’s sunny with big puffy white clouds moving across the valley. Sundays are quiet here – very little traffic noise, the kids aren’t in school so there are no voices calling out during recess, no tobacco tractors chugging up the hill. It’s very serene and bucolic. One of the most wonderful things about being here for so long is that you don’t feel like you have to be doing something all the time. We can enjoy afternoons like these where we really aren’t doing anything. I wander inside to do a little housecleaning, Steve meanders up to refill our water bottles, Millie naps in the sun. Later this afternoon we’re meeting Michelangelo and Rossella to go to a festa in Castiglion Fiorentino, but until then we’re enjoying that most wonderful of Italian phrases – dolce far niente – the sweetness of doing nothing. The most taxing thing on my agenda is to try and memorize each peak of the Apennines as they rise from the basin that is the Tiber Valley. This will be for those moments when life is not so sweet and I have to rely on my memories to ground me. Because right now I am grounded to the most wonderful place on earth.