I travelled to Italy for the first time as a 19-year old art student who did not drink/like coffee. (I also never pulled any all-nighters as a college-student-who-didn't-drink-coffee, but that is another story for another blog--the "goody-two-shoes" blog my husband might say....) The summer after my Freshman year in college I lived with an Italian farming family outside the city of Todi. Sunflower fields surrounded the farmhouse, chickens frequented the courtyard, Nonna cooked our dinner mostly, and with breakfast we drank coffee. I can still see the sunny, second floor dining room with its wooden table, and I can still see my white bowl of strong, milky, AMAZINGLY delicious coffee. Is this coffee? Really?
And now I am back in Italy almost exactly 20 years later. I've been here 2 full days with my nine year old, red-headed son who has been to Italy TWICE now, who knows how to navigate customs through the Brussels airport! So far each day has begun with my own bowl of strong, milky, AMAZINGLY delicious coffee, and each time I drink my cup I do not take its particular Italian fullness for granted. I listen to the sounds of the doves outside the kitchen window, the bells from Santa Croce, the periodic murmur of my neighbors who are waking up on a Saturday morning, the rumble of cars from the street--all mingling perfectly with the pure delight of my morning coffee in Florence.