Saturday, May 31, 2014

Morning coffee, Florence

I am not a coffee person.  I like coffee well enough, but I can go for long stretches of time without it...easily.  In fact most of the time when I have a cup of coffee I feel pretty let down.  Too weak, kind of watery, maybe too bitter, why am I drinking this stuff and really, where's my complex cup of earl grey?  This is what happens when you first learn to drink coffee in Italy.  So technically I should say I am not a coffee person unless I happen to be in Italy.

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.


  1. Thanks for sharing this evocative memory, Barbara. I agree 100% and had a similar ah-ha moment with coffee in Florence in 1995. It's impossible to go back to the "other stuff" afterwards! Great photo, too, by the way.

  2. Barb, you have given me a second reason to want to visit Italy (the first being a wish to see Tuscany). Uncle Dick and I just returned from 2 1/2 weeks in England, visiting a couple of his former students, and spending a lot of time exploring the churches and countryside of eastern Cornwall, from where your ancestors sailed to America. We made some special new friends and had many unexpected joys. Next time we will take an Ipad, so that we can blog. Thanks for keeping us in touch this way! Love, Aunt Lissa