In the Neighborhood

14 Jul

Meet Wanda, (pronounced Vanda). She lives directly across Via Mazzouli from us. When I say across, it’s not as in the States…her front door is literally 15 feet from ours. You can see in the photo of the hail storm just how narrow the street is. I am hanging out our window and her front door is the dark brown one. There are no sidewalks…each of our front doors opens directly onto the street. The main reason we chose the house on Via Mazzuoli is that we wanted to live in a neighborhood and meet the neighbors…and that we did. I have come to realize that the lady I heard the first morning was Wanda. Because we all leave our windows open, the sounds bounce off the buildings, thus my analogy of waking up in a movie.

Wanda and her husband Vincenzo have been our “go to” people. Each morning, I push open the shutters and see Wanda in her kitchen with the TV on behind her. “Buon giorno, Wanda” I call, and she comes to the window. We talk about the weather, things happening in town, whatever, all in Italian. Each time we plan to drive to a town, she is our GPS planner, and unlike our TomTom, she is dead on accurate. She says, “nell’indicazione di”…” and we’d know which direction to head. Simple.

One day,  we had a power outage…everything went dead, but Wanda to the rescue. “Aiuto, Wanda!” (I need help!) She came over,  flipped the circuit breaker and we were back in business.

Vincenzo’s main job seems to be taking care of his car. Watching him back into his garage is incredible…barely room for the car, let alone space for him to get out! The front of his car nearly touches our front door as he backs in, but of course,  it never does.

They have been in their home for 40 years. When I asked Wanda how we would keep in touch when I am in Chicago, she told me “through the post office…you need to write me letters!” No internet at their house, and not because it’s not available, but because they choose not to have it. I told her  I’d have to write in English but I’d put my letter through and send along an Italian translation…hoping it actually translates correctly.

This day, they were going to visit Vincenzo’s sister who was having arm surgery, and she yelled up, “Judita…we’ll be away for a few days.” Boy did we miss them!

Other people in the neighborhood include these two ladies, who in the beginning just sort of laughed each day when we greeted them. Once they realized we’d be around for a while, they started to talk to us…well, at least they stopped chuckling about us! Check out the blue plaid skirt…I think I wore the same one at St. Luke’s elementary school. In fact, she looks like the nun I had in 3rd grade!

Then there are the regular chair sitters…they wouldn’t agree to the photo unless Len sat with them.

Here we are having our morning cappuccino made by Angelino at Trattoria Tacconi.

And of course, the local bread maker….he makes and sells bread to all of the restaurants in town. One of the good things for us is that we actually don’t like the bread in Tuscany as it has no salt. Better in Roma and best in Napoli! But given all the pasta, gelato and meat we are eating, it’s good not to like the bread.

Living in the neighborhood is delightful and very interesting. Everyone is so friendly and the locals have truly made us feel welcome. Thank, you, Wanda and all our new friends!



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