March 25th, 2004

Wednesday night turns out to be a very late night for me and my roommate Lina (from Sweden). First, I go for wine and appetizers with a new friend, who I met at the internet cafe. We chat all the time, but as soon as he found out I had origins in Lucca, he seemed very excited. While I’m sipping Chianti Classico and eating pheasant pate’ with bread, he is telling all about the history of Lucca’s main cathedrals, the layout of the town, etc. etc… He tells everybody we see that I’m from Seattle but with origins in Lucca, and everybody seems so pleased about this. I also find out that there is a contrada here, Pantera, Panther, whose ancient inhabitants were merchants from Lucca.

After this enjoyable chat, I meet my roommate Lina at a cheesy bar with cheesy music, full of people who are definitely younger than I am.  Lina is with some of her other friends, and the group of us simply find the whole thing entertaining. I order a glass of prosecco from an Argentine bartender and settle in with the girls. Italian and American hip-hop blast through the speakers and everyone seems to be having a good time.  We simple survey the scene and exchange amused glances at each other.
I wake up Thursday morning not wanting to be awake, but I get myself off to school anyway. In class we listen to a CD that consists of a dialog about the environment. I am taken aback because the people on the Cd are speaking much too quickly for me… Two of us confess to not being able to understand it, but the rest of the class says ‘oh, it’s pretty easy to understand’. My confused companion and I stare at each other with doubt.

At 4pm I meet a group of students at the school and we wait to be taken away to a wine tasting course. An energetic, handsome, ever so Tuscan man greets us and takes us to an enoteca at the other end of the centro. We are greeting by the proprietor, Antonio. Antonio is hefty but with soft brown eyes and a thick Tuscan accent. The more I get to know him, the more I warm up to him and understand his speaking. He seems to pick on me a lot.
After some conversation, my Lucchese origins are revealed. ‘Ma dai,’ he says, ‘Vero?!’ (Come on, really?!). Si, I answer. Yes. This of course makes his day and he goes on to tell me all about the relationship between Siena and Lucca which I have already heard. He also pours me a lot of wine.
Fabio pops in to ask how we are all doing, and I ‘attempt’ to say “Ci divertiamo” (we’re having fun), but since Antonio has been keeping all my glasses more than full, I twist it all around and say something more like “Ci vidertiamo”… luckily he can’t hear me because at that precise moment someone grabs his attention with a question. Whew!!!

My roomates and I had planned to open up a bottle of wine this evening that we’d brought back from Montalcino, but I have a feeling I will be skipping it…

Entry Filed under: Siena

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