Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Day 19: Mama and Papa Italiano

I have two new adopted Italian parents. I love them. I’m staying here forever.

On Maria and Pietro’s AirBnb profile, they mention that they'll serve guests dinner for an additional fee. Last night, though, they insisted I join them as their guest. Breakfast is included, and after that, they offered to take me into town.

“More important,” Maria said, standing by the stove, “you will have lunch with us.”

“Okay, but can I contribute?” I asked, already knowing the answer. They waved me off. They mentioned some Italian expression that lunch for two and lunch for three is the same thing, but I know the drill. Italians and Greeks (and Lebs) aren’t so different, when it comes to feeding guests.

While Maria went to get her hair done, I tried to get a SIM card, which was a failure in every sense. They returned to the shop with me to help me out. They took me on a scenic tour of Florence. They made me lunch. They made sure I knew where the coffee was and had enough blankets. Then they left me on my own, until dinner time, when Maria called out,

“Na-ta-leee!”

Fresh meatballs, spinach with parmesan, and pannetone, a cake traditional served at Christmas time, but which they buy in the fall, because they think it's freshest now. 

Like I said: staying forever.

Pietro and Maria are old school in some ways, but they are pretty hip cats in all others. They’ve lived all over the world. They spend winters in Kenya, where Pietro once flew as a pilot. (Maria already invited me to visit.) They went to the Greek islands in the seventies. They crack jokes and make fun of each other. They are so kind, easygoing and full of life.

Pietro pointed out a war cemetery as we drove home.

“I choose one soldier, a British one,” he says. “I go visit him and talk to him. His name is Spencer.”

I mean, honestly. 

I’ve already decided to spend the rest of my time here staying with them and doing day trips around Tuscany, rather than trying to see the whole country at breakneck speed. That wasn’t really working for me. Plus, when you find travel angels - which happens more often than you might think -  I find it's a good idea to hover around with them for a while.

With love, wings and gorgonzola,

Natalia



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