A few months before visiting Italy, friends of ours from the States contacted us and said, “We’re going to be in Italy the same time as you, and you simply must come visit us. We bought a small home in Petritoli, and we won’t take no for an answer You will visit us!”
And, visit we did! There aren’t words to express what Chris and I experienced while in Petritoli, the small self-sufficient villa of 2500 located by the Adriatic Sea to one side and the Sibillini Mountains to the west. Talk about breathtaking! Talk about quaint, and historial, and warm, and giving one the sense of community! The essence of Petritoli is what I dreamed Italy would be, and it turned out to be even more! None of this would have been possible, of course, without the hospitality and friendship of Tom and Kirsten. It’s a small, small world and friends are an essential and beautiful part of that world!
Note: Choose friends wisely, and cherish those friends always! Tom and Kirsten, you always have a place to stay with me! And, I will always thank you for opening your home to me!
This blog, in order to do justice to the topics of friendship, beauty of Italy, and events we encountered while in Petritoli, will no doubt turn into several mini blogs as I want to include photos to share with you, also. The sheer beauty of this villa is enough to make your eyes pop right out of your head!
Stepping off of the bus onto the curb in the quaint town of Petritoli, we spotted Tom running to welcome us to Italy! We were all so excited to see each other that the conversation was lively, and filled with laughter as we drove to the local coffee house in the villa to meet up with Kirsten. Walking through the doorway to the coffee house was an experience in and of itself! Sitting on couches and comfy chairs were neighborhood friends, Kirsten sitting central among them as she and Tom were the villa guests. Francesa jumped up to greet us with a hug, a kiss, and a glass of wine! Ahh….you gotta love the people of Italy! One-by-one, the others gave hugs, kisses, offered more wine and cheese and crackers than we needed, and the chatter and laughter continued on into the night. (Keep in mind that Chris and I had gone well beyond 24 hours without a hint of sleep, but who cared? We were far too enthralled by the experience of it all to need any sleep!)
Note: Dogs are allowed in all eateries in Italy as we learned that evening. At first I wondered if everyone there needed a seeing-eye dog, but I soon found out that dogs are as much a part of the culture as people, and so they are included in all activities, including coffee talk!
Also Note: Italians have held tight to the art of conversation! My golly, how much I’ve been starved for that! I haven’t had an evening like this in years! Talking, laughing, sharing the events of the day, and openly and freely hugging and kissing! I cannot even tell you how much I’ve missed that element in my life. I grew up living in an Italian town with first and second generation Italians who held fast to the culture. Since leaving, I’ve found myself having to adapt to a hand-off, no hugging, no kissing, and very restrained “visit by invitation only” type of living. Thank you, God, for restoring my belief that there are people left among us who still spend evenings sitting around talking, laughing, and eating together and openly and freely welcome others into their circle of friends!
After getting warmed up with lots of wine for me (hot tea for Chris — he was a total teetotaler while in Italy!), delicious chocolates, cheeses, fruits, and crackers, we said our farewells for the evening to our newly formed circle of friends in Petriotoli, and off we went with Tom and Kirsten to their home for dinner.
Another thing to Note: Dinner is never served in Italy before 8:30 p.m.! The hours prior to that are spent chatting with friends, sipping on wine, and enjoying the home-baked delicacies of the day! I loved the Italian life-style already!
I’ll end the blog on this note for today. There was only one challenge that I had to date since setting foot in Italy — the toilettes! For the love of Pete, I got locked into every stall I used, and it took me at least 20 minutes each time to figure out the technique of “how to flush”! Tom and Kirsten’s home presented the same challenge. Not only was their toilette located on floor 4 of their home, BUT it was a pull string flush that didn’t always work! Needless to say, there will be an entire blog of nothing but “la toilettas” in Italia! But, for today…..Tom and Kirsten, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for introducing us to the ways of Italy and to the beauty of Petritoli!
Next item in the journal…dinner at 11:00 p.m.!!! Kirsten is world’s best cook — I’m totally convinced of that!