“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag
I thought that I would spend my next blog entry introducing you to some of the local Italian people who make Orvieto what it is. These are people that we interact with semi-regularly, and make their homes here in Orvieto. And, as a side note, in the past week two people have come up to me and started asking me a question in Italian. Even though I have no idea what they’re saying, this is still a small personal victory as it means that I look Italian enough to know what I’m talking about. Anyway…
First, there’s Mauro and Enya, who run Locanda Del Lupo, the local B&B and restaurant that we eat at daily. As you’ve probably already gathered, the meals are fantastic, but they are just as fantastic as the food they cook. Mauro often wears purple pants, which cracked us all up the first time we saw them. He’s an older Italian, but not elderly, and plays the accordion and sing karaoke rather well. If I didn’t know him in this context, I’d say he’s intimidating with his large hooked nose (Severus Snape style?), but since our karaoke party, that’s the furthest thing from the truth. He also just shaved his head, which shocked us when we walked in. Enya, who does most of the cooking, is a petite little Italian woman, all smiles and love. They are basically our surrogate Italian parents while we’re here.
And then there’s Leonardo, who also works at the restaurant and is pretty much the only one there who speaks English. I’m not sure if he’s their son or not, but he definitely has a sense of humor. Apparently one day after the meal he told some of the girls in the group that he was going to teach them contemporary dancing. The next thing they knew he was on the floor doing the splits. He displays an unguarded Italian form of sarcasm.
Of course, Alessandro takes the cake for being the most integral Italian in our time here in Orvieto. And I can’t mention Alessandra without referencing the fact that he sports a fohawk…every day. Apparently he used to have a ponytail. Alessandro teaches our weekly Italian class, but also has been the one to ferry us around Orvieto dealing with the technicalities of being foreigners in Italy. Picture on guy waiting with all twenty-four of us at the post office so that we can apply for our permits to sojourn. Four of more hours of his week, gone just like that. This guy must be a saint.
And finally, someone who always makes me smile is Father Enrico at San Giovenale, the church that most of us attend. This guy is large, elderly, and again, somewhat intimidating in his clerical robes. Apparently the largest smile he ever gives is something more like a smirk, but a friendly smirk. The first day eleven of us went and sang in the choir there, he was please at how we nearly tripled the choir’s typical size. The other thing about him: I don’t know if he ever preaches sermons that last more than about seven minutes.