We have gone up in the world. Our new abode is a small flat on the sixth floor of a mixed-use building. This area is not far from the center of the city, but far enough away to be predominately residential. It is in an area called La Crocetta. Not Upper East Side, but solid middle class and well-to-do.

Night life appears to be non-existent. The boulevards are lined with fairly boring 19th century buildings, enlivened occasionally by something from the Baroque period, and, of course, shop windows full of beautiful and expensive clothes. This is Italy, after all.

The tiny elevator in our building goes to the fifth floor. We are in the garret, where the roof slopes steeply down on three sides and we are forever cursing the dark beams, nursing bruises. The flat is compact, but elegant, and three small balconies offer views of the city. On Saturday morning, it finally stopped raining and the view was spectacular. The sun was out and there was a sprinkling of fresh snow on the Alps.

I should have taken some photos, but It was market day and we wanted to get out into the sunshine. We are within walking distance of a wonderful, open-air market, adjacent to a church that looks ancient, but dates back only to the end of the last century. If there was a Fiat dealership, the market would have all three Italian obsessions, cars, clothes and food. Ah, but the food…..

Luscious tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, apples, Clementines, garlic and onions. Olive bread and Parmesan. Fresh fish. Squid. Since my Italian vocabulary is quite limited, we made our purchases with the time-honored method of point and pay. At least I know my numbers. Some gestures, a little French, and a few words in English rapidly helped fill our newly-acquired shopping cart.

Our week in the hotel was not without its good side, but we ate too much. We indulged ourselves in restaurants, even ones that shouldn’t have been good, like the chain restaurant called Brek. It was nearby, quick and inexpensive.

Set up like a cafeteria with taste and even some charm, it has sections for antipasti, the first course, second course, main course, salads and soups and dessert. In my country, opening a decent restaurant for linguistically challenged diners would be sufficient to make it a hit. Here in Italy, that isn’t enough. The food has to be good.

Now we have a flat, we are back to our own devices. Food preparation. This is the land of slow food, fast cars, and lots and lots of lovely new words.

Stay tuned.

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