This weekend I went to Arezzo to visit a friend and his family. I’ve spent the last several years of my life living in college dorms, decrepit rental homes, and basements. So I was very excited to be invited into a home with a jacuzzi bath tub! There was also a bidet, which I’m sorry Italians, I just will not use.
We spent most of our time with the family out in the countryside, but also spent part of the weekend in the city center. Several celebrations for first communions and weddings, two important Catholic milestones, were being held all around the city. We didn’t get to see the bride, but the groom wore a silk top hat and a coat with tails.
Sunday afternoon, my friend, his father, and I watched the Monaco Grand Prix via spotty, satellite tv. Though I was certainly impressed by the track, the blowouts, and the speed; I couldn’t help but think I was watching fancy Nascar. The comparison didn’t improve when the head of the household fell asleep mid way, just like my dad does during Nascar.
I was treated to some very fine meals by my hosts. The simplest and yet most satisfying dish was plain, unsalted bread with home cured prosciutto. The only preservative used was salt with pepper for taste. Though the family only spoke Italian, and communication was often difficult, they were anxious to teach me about the culture of the Italian kitchen. They were also very interested to learn about American culinary traditions, such as the famous biscuits and gravy.
The piazza pictured above can be seen in stills from the movie, La Vita è Bella. The 1997 film was filmed in Arezzo and many places around the city can be recognized in the movie. And at the closing of this weekend, I have to agree, that life truly is beautiful.