Happiness is a Warm Radiator
I’ve become a radiator fan. After many years of living with forced air heat, I love the radiator. I never thought that it would warm the room – only the area just in the immediate area of the radiator. But I was wrong. A radiator will warm an entire room in a matter of minutes. And it’s an even, gentle heat that wraps around you and makes you feel toasty.
My notion of radiators was from old movies where they seemed to always be stuck on and everybody was sweltering. Ours work just like central heat with a programmable thermostat. And the units themselves have settings so that you can moderate the amount of heat they put out. It’s very user friendly and I must say that coming downstairs on a frosty morning and feeling the warmth coming out of those radiators is a wonderful way to start a cold day.
It’s Not Just for Heat
One of the coolest things about the radiator is that you can use it for warming up all manner of things. Since our glory days of drying clothes outside have been temporarily suspended due to winter, we’ve starting draping our just laundered clothes over the radiators. They’re dry in mere minutes. And so warm and soft that you want to put them on immediately.
Microwaves are a rarity here (we certainly don’t have one), so putting something to warm up on the radiator is a time honored tradition here. On Christmas Day at Rossella’s and Michelangelo’s, they had a chocolate panettone sitting on the radiator to warm up. By the time we finished dinner and got to it, the chocolate had become nice and gooey and the whole thing was heated to perfection. I’ve even seen radiators with little cubbies built into them for keeping food warm. Now that’s classy.
Millie has a bed on each of our three floors (she’s not spoiled) and each one is right in front of a radiator. We all know that animals are heat seeking missiles and have an uncanny ability to find the sunniest, warmest spots on earth. Millie curls up in front of the radiator thinking that this was the easiest heat source she’s ever found. And where did she go with her new Christmas toys? Straight to her bed in front of the radiator. She never even noticed the vents that blasted warm air in our home in the US. How can you curl up in front of that? It’s inconsistent and too forceful. The radiator is gentle and subtle. It’s a heat source for the people.
One of the coolest things are the radiators in the bathrooms. They cleverly double as towel racks so that when you reach for the towel after a shower it’s warm and fluffy and like something from heaven. They also make great clothes drying apparatus with their multiple rungs – great for socks and dishtowels.
Why Can’t It Work in Reverse?
My question is, why can’t they figure out some way to make it cool in the summer? Have some kind of system where frigid water cools the room during those long, hot summer days? Now that would be a wonderful thing. We made it through the late summer here with no AC just fine, but it’s always in the back of my mind that we don’t have it. I’m looking forward to summer for many reasons, but seeing how we survive through an entire summer with no AC is not one of them. I remind myself that I never had central AC until I went to college. And then some dorms had it and some didn’t. When I graduated from college and got my first apartment, it was complete with AC. I thought I lived in the Taj Mahal. I also remember getting cold from it and wondered if it might be too much of a good thing.
Stay Warm, People
We have rounded the corner of the new year and now have spring in our sights. We tell ourselves that there’s really only two more months of cold weather and each day we see a little more daylight hours. A sure sign that spring is on the way. Until then, we will bask in the warmth of our radiated heat and dry our clothes with pleasure.
About those radiators: As you know, since you so graciously travelled halfway down Italy for a visit, we were there over the holidays. We had never been in winter. We wanted the Christmas and New Year experience. More on that, in a sec. We opened an umbrella one time for five minutes in Rome. The rest of the rain graciously came and went while we dreamed of polpette (and yearned for the morning cappuccino). Mostly we stayed in Rome near Piazza Navona, but we ventured out to our favorite hill town, Orvieto. There we had this fabulous 2 bedroom apartment for four nights in an old, but renovated palazzo. It was beautiful. But, we fought the radiators for four nights. The second day, the plumber actually came and unblocked a stoppage somewhere in the pipes above our apartment. But still, every night, the radiators would go off. I would wake up cold and knowing David would not get out of bed until it warmed up, I would romance the thermostat. I guess I just never got the hang of it, even though they would miraculously heat up. We had similar issues in Rome at two different apartments. I finally called our contact and he explained that the buildings have some kind of master control over the heating system in the building. They figure that you are under a ton of blankets, I guess, from 10 p.m. until the sun comes up. So the building enforces a 60 degree limit, or something like that. Anyway, the radiators were modern and cleverly designed: Perfect for drying clothes on our rack. (We didn’t have a puppy!) Energy is precious and expensive in Italy, we know. Orvieto even had a clothes dryer; very rare. But, you expect more from a palace, I guess. More on the holiday experience: OMG, the lights were fantastic everywhere. I think the short trip to Florence where we met for our visit provided the most enchanting lights. Via del Corso in Rome was more like a 3-mile-long Disney light parade. Wow! I recommend the holiday trip for anyone who hasn’t done it.