It is difficult and frustrating to know that in Australia we cannot travel anywhere outside our country for now. Italy seems so distant but the memories and feelings and sensations are so clear and vivid to me. Here is a little list of what I truly love and miss. I cannot wait to return to my land and my people once more…
- The sound of church bells.
Since medieval times, bells have always had a place in the cultural life of Italy.
They are a call to arms, a call for war, they can be the sound of happiness for weddings, the slow peal for funerals…
In my village of Palombaro I love the daily sound of our church bell either from the church of San Salvatore or from the Madonna dell’Assunta.
I would hear the bells ringing on the quarter hour and the half hour and on the hour.. It gave my day some regularity and sense of calmness.
On Sunday the bells would sound for longer and call the villagers for the 11.00 am mass.
It is a joyous sound!
My village bell tower in Palombaro
2) The smiles and faces of my family and friends.
Of course I miss my immediate family there – my cousins and my aunty in Palombaro, Chieti, Ripa Teatina and Villamagna.
I long to see my old friend Dora who is now over 80. She gets around the village and is always busy doing something… from picking walnuts off her trees and selling them to local bakeries to use in their baking to growing the best tomatoes outside her apartment on her balcony. She is always ready with her large smile and always keen to get me in for a mid morning caffe!
I wish I could be near my darling cousin Loredana who loves our weekly shopping trips and in the right season we go foraging for wild asparagus for example which is in the springtime. She calls me up and says to pop around and make pasta with her and stay on for dinner… no formal invitation needed. I walk from one end of the village where I am and in 5 mins I am outside her door!
My many friends I have met over the years bring me much joy with their warmth and kindness and always ready to help me out or meet me for a gelato!
3) The smell of coffee and cornetto!
You may be shocked to hear that I don’t drink coffee! However the smell is so wonderful and as soon as I arrive in Rome my senses are stirred up when I smell the Lavazza or Illy coffee from the cafe-bar and the baked cornetti or Italian croissants (which are like a brioche). I know I have arrived back in Italy.
Every village has at least one bar and the sound of the coffee machine and clinking of the espresso coffee cups…aah (I drink green tea and now decaf coffee by the way!)
Of course I do! My wardrobe is mainly from my Italian finds – the lovely pants and dresses and the great shoes and handbags… Oh I do miss that. It is fun going to the sales with my cousin Loredana and we find things for each other. We try dresses on and have a laugh.
Even the mundane grocery shop we do together is fun as we chat and giggle all the way. We find new items to try and exchange recipes for the night’s dinner.
Weekly shopping trip with cousin Loredana
5) The Tomatoes and the Olive Oil!
I think many of you will agree on this one! Those of you who remember staying at Loreto Aprutino at the agriturismo and nonna Olga would come out with a plate of bread with home grown sun ripened tomatoes with some dried oregano, a sprinkle of salt and lashings of their extravirgin olive oil.. Oh I can taste that sweetness now and flesh so meaty and it tastes like a real tomato. Do you remember that?
What are your top five things you miss or love about Italy?
Write to me here: luci@touringabruzzo. com