Lunch & “Spontaneous” Art

Ciao Readers!

So, when we first arrived here we had lunch at our local osteria – Cocotrippone; I mentioned that I didn’t take photos as it was the first time we were eating there and I knew we’d be back.  This is a real “mom & pop” place – simple tuscan food (complete with tripe and rabbit if ya want it) at affordable prices, with a complete staff of 2 (the husband does the cooking while the wife does everything else).  We decided to go back a couple of Sundays ago.

I love eating outside in Italy (and everywhere, really) – somehow it makes it even more of an “event” to me and I can spend all afternoon people watching and relaxing.  The weird thing was, the entire street on which Cocotrippone sits was blocked off and deserted (notice the street behind Steve in the picture), as were several other streets in the neighborhood.  We couldn’t figure out what was going on – maybe Sunday street cleaning?  In any case, while it cut down on the people-watching factor, it was really nice to have some quiet for a change (neither of us has ever lived in the middle of a city and still haven’t adjusted to the constant level of noise). I ordered the same bruschetta with fagioli and lardo I described last time (but this time you get to see photos!).  I had a simple but yummy salad with that and Steve had the fresh pasta with radicchio and bacon (pictured below).

While we were eating, someone moved the street barrier and drove their vehicle into the street and parked – at first we thought nothing of it as we have learned that street signs, signals, barriers, etc. don’t mean much here (one day I’ll have to post a photo of the cars parked all over the street downstairs).  But it kept happening.  Finally, we saw the reason – the folks who parked started taking out easels and tables and ART from their vehicles – they were setting up for an art festival!   We hadn’t read anything about this and were totally surprised.  By the time we finished our lunch, the deserted streets had turned into a HUGE crowd (pictured below).  In addition to folks selling art, they had rolls of paper on the ground on which kids could draw – pretty cool!   (A few photos, below).   As I have mentioned before, at times (times you are not in line at a government office) Italy does feel like one ongoing festival…  I wonder what will pop up this weekend…

European Food Festival

Ciao Readers!

Today I am taking you to a festival!  This past Thursday – Sunday was the “International European Market” in Piazza Santa Croce (which just happens to be right outside my Italian school).  I discovered it after class on Thursday and then brought Steve back for dinner that night.

The festival is pretty much what you would picture from the title – lots of booths with foodstuffs from around Europe, as well as other handmade goods (wooden shoes, soaps, dolls, etc.).  There was lots of food from Austria and Germany (think wurst) and a little bit from elsewhere in Europe.  The piazza smelled like cooking meat and fried dough – Yum!  Now I suppose, objectively speaking, it wasn’t the most amazing festival ever, but, in a way it was…

I love festivals (right now I am seriously missing the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, which I wrote about with photos here).  I love everything about festivals – the festive atmosphere, the eating of random fried things you would never eat at home (and overpaying for them willingly), the people watching….  Usually, in order to go to a festival, we would have to plan, get in the car, and find parking in some huge lot far from our destination (and pay for the privilege).  So, what made this festival so very cool was the fact that we could just walk out the door, and viola!  (well, after a bit of a walk, voila!).   If it weren’t for the waiting in lines at the post and going through the immigration process (and not having a clothes dryer, and living on the 4th floor, and…..), living in Italy would be like living in a never-ending festival!  I suppose this ongoing merriment is the reward for all the not-as-fun parts.

Below are some shots of the festival by day, as well as one in the evening (pretty, yes?), and of course of our respective dinners (hint, mine still has its face).  Enjoy!

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