March 22nd, 2004
Sunday afternoon I visit Siena’s Duomo (cathedral)… it is hard to really take everything in with reverence, as I am surrounded by tourists chattering away in several different languages. I sigh, and make my way through the gothic structure, taking in various frescoes, sculptures, lighting candles… I find a particular chapel inside the cathedral that I really like. The ceiling reminds me of something Giotto would paint…the beautiful rich blue and gold stars. In the center is a cuppola with a golden sun…. I spend 5 minutes staring straight up, spinning slowly around to get every possible perspective, until I become dizzy. To be honest, I never enjoy the main cathedrals of cities like this, as much as I enjoy the smaller churches, which are less imposing and much more tranquil.I come home to find my roommates Bastian and Lina, who have each returned from their weekends away… Lina was in Pisa, and Bastian was in Montepulciano and Pienza and other such places. Lina, who has had a late night, decides to head straight to bed, leaving me and Bastian to discuss dinner. We decide to use the pici that I just bought, and have it with a ruccola sauce. Bastian prepares some fun antipasti, basically crackers with olive tapenade or assiago cheese. I open a bottle of chianti classico, and decide to also share some of my newly acquired pecorino and honey. The pici turn out perfect with the ruccola sauce, and I shave some pecorino over the top of our servings. Buonissimo.
My other roommate, Una, finally returns from her weekend visit to Perugia (lucky!!!), however, she is too late for our feasts. She fixes herself some packaged “paella”, and we finish off the wine together. We end up sitting up quite late eating cookies and drinking chamomile tea, discussing what we like about Italy and the differences between Glaswegian English and American English.
Monday I have a pretty good time in class and we watch some scenes from Johny Stecchino, a Roberto Benigni film from 1991. We are asked to go home and form an ‘ipotesi aperta’ (open hypothesis) about the film. In other words, indulge ourselves in a grammatical horror. There is a small market at Piazza Matteoti and I find some CDs (Jovanotti and Caparezza)… I make another trip to the supermarket and decide my stock of food would be incomplete without wild boar salame and nice soft cheese… I add to the list some bread (the bread here is so hard on the outside, but on the inside it is ever so soft…) and some pears, and as soon as I’m home, I eagerly open the salami & cheese and put them on some slices of the bread… Oh dear, I can barely handle how delicious everything is… so rich and full of flavor…so fresh… a different consistency altogether from what I tend to eat back home in Seattle…part of this is because you can’t get wild boar salami in Seattle… oh if that were only possible…
I make my way to meet my friend Silvio for coffee, just near the Universita’ per Stranieri… I have coffee with thick white chocolate in it… Silvio has cold coffee with dark chocolate…We chat (in English this time) until he needs to get to his next class, and as we are leaving, two young men (or should I say, two young cretins) compliment me on my derriÃ¨re (in Italian) and give me a thumbs up. I sneer at them to let them know I understand just what they are saying. Ughh.