This morning the rain managed to let up for a few hours and we finally had an opportunity to walk to the Bar Rotondo in Serricciolo for a coffee and pastry.
Sericciolo is a small town of 550 kind souls. We, meaning the US and its standing army, pretty much bombed it into oblivion during the second world war. Thus the old Serricciolo is not to be found anywhere. Today the town is so underpopulated that it’s the only tiny village in Italy that doesn’t have a blank TripAdvisor page. Really.
But it’s where a bit of my heart is. When we enter the bar, the owner-barista’s eyes get big and she stops everything and welcomes us. There are hugs, handshakes, questions as to how long we’ll be staying and what a wonderful thing it is to be in Italy.
We are home again. At the bar. I mean, think about that. In America, bars can be dismal places—or loud places. But in little Serricciolo, a bar is like a big living room with an extended family that provides laughs and emotional support. Everything you need to start your day is here.
When you need something to bring to your neighbor at Easter they have it. There are huge chocolate eggs everywhere during the Easter season. Some are milk chocolate stuffed with crunchy things. Some are fondente, pure dark chocolate. Some are for kids.
The bar also has a couple of bulletin boards. Who’s having a special Easter lunch? The Controvento. It sounds marvelous. A four course meal, mostly seafood, with a glass of bubbly and all the other wine you might want to consume. Tax and tip is included for 35 euros. It will take hours to eat.
The other bulletin board announces the bus trips that take residents on long journeys, often religious pilgrimages. You can see who’s selling a house and what they want for it.
There are all the newspapers from local towns big enough to print one, too. I like to pretend I’m reading one intently because then people will think I am a smart person who can read Italian. They are half right: I am a semi-smart person who can read every other Italian word.
All of this attention and camaraderie and access to free newspapers, along with a cappuccino or two, makes me giddy with delight. The experience is welcoming and enlightening. Sometimes I wonder if all those troubled kids in America who are so miserably alone, confused and dispossessed and who choose to take action by purchasing a gun made to shred enemy flesh (but save Democracy!!!) before walking into a school to mow random kids down… what if they had this kinda bar to go to?
Absurd is what that thought is. Or maybe not.
In any case we exit, cross the railroad tracks and enter the little “not-so-super-supermarket.” It doesn’t have 30 rows. It doesn’t carry 74 kinds of toilet paper. It just has everything you need including 100% fruit juice and prosciutto to die for—plus this:
Parmigiano Reggiano DOP is on sale. I don’t want to make you feel bad if you just spent $24-30 on the same cheese, but here near the source it’s 11.90 euros a kilo. That works out to a diabolical $6.66 a pound.
It’s good to be “home”.