Dreaming In Italian


Surfing the (second) wave

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

Here in Italy the second wave of covid is very active. It has gone from an average of 200 new cases a day in the summer to an average of about 8,000 in the last week after creeping up slowly during August and September with an average of 1500 cases a day. The problem here as in just about all of the world is that people are weary of the limitations. While in general people follow the rules on wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings much of the uptick in cases seems to come from those ignoring those rules, or more accurately, recommendations. So now those are becoming rules. Usually those who are lax about the recommendations have been the young, teenagers and 20 somethings. This has been especially true on weekends when people want to be out and about and party with friends. On weekends the very center of Bologna is closed vehicular traffic, T-days. They’re called that because the major roads in the center that become pedestrian-only form a T. So about two weeks ago the mayor issued a decree that on weekends masks are mandatory even in open air. On the first weekend the police issued 14 tickets to people in their 20s for flaunting the rules. These tickets really get people’s attention since they are 400 euros each – that’s about $470. Word gets around and now everyone is wearing masks. And it’s not just the financial penalty; nobody wants to go back to a lockdown. As in the US the rate of deaths is much lower than in the spring partly because of greatly increased testing so that those infected receive treatment sooner. One of the hard lessons that they learned earlier and also because they are more testing capacity now. It is interesting to look at the charts. The first lockdown was very effective here in Italy and in much of the rest of Europe. The summer was almost normal here while the number of cases in the U.S. steadily grew. I’ll be interested (vitally interested) in the shape of the curve going forward. I expect it to continue to decrease but probably not as rapidly as it rose.

Number of new cases in U.S.
Number of new cases in Italy

We had hoped to have a little party at our house with under 10 total people to celebrate our marriage but decided to postpone that until the wave subsides. I’m hoping that things seem less scary in December.  I’ll end on a positive note with one of the quotes that come with the Baci.

Only he who has overcome his fears will truly be free.
Solo chi ha superato le sue paure sara’ veramente libero.
Aristotle

And a second one

When we feel the need for a hug, we must run the risk of asking for it.
Quando sentamo il bisogno di un abraccio, dobbiamo correre il rischio di chiederlo.
Emily Dickinson


P.S. I always appreciate comments ( and new subscribers)

The wedding (il matrimonio)

Saturday, October 10th, 2020

On Friday we took a taxi to the comune (city hall) of Bologna. The two witnesses and the two guests were already there but could not enter without us – the pandemic has caused a number of restrictions. We had to wait for a bit and the witnesses and guests need to show identification but strangely enough Laura and I did not.

The wedding ceremony is pretty different. Here in Italy almost all written formal communications cites one or more references to laws either for the country, the region or even for the European Union. So I guess the officiant (one of the members of the city council) is required to read a couple of rules as the first order of business). Of course I understood almost nothing and frankly could care less. I suspect this is true of the entire population.

So then I had expected wedding vows during the ceremony and had translated what seems to be more or less the standard format in the U.S. and the translation into Italian. It seemed like a nice touch. First in Italian and then in English.

“Io, Joseph, ti prendo, Laura, per essere mia moglie sposata, per averti e tenerti da questo giorno in poi, nel bene, nel male, in ricchezza e in povertà, in salute e in malattia, di amarti e onorarti, finché morte non ci separi.”

“I, Joseph, take you, Laura, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part.

Then Laura did the same in both languages.

The the officiant, rather than wedding vows simply asked “Do you want to marry this person” to each of us and we responded “Yes (si’) and then he simply said “OK, you’re married” – well he didn’t really say “OK” but it was very brief – short and sweet.

Laura read a poem that she had written and that I clumsily translated into Italian. It is really hard to translate poetry! I have tried to find a way to change the font size for poetry without success so I’m just going to live with it.

Molte volte ho sognato di stringere
una mano che mi corrispondesse
tenera complice e immaginato occhi sinceri da potermici fidare.
Un desiderio poco probabile ad avverarsi,temevo.
Poi, quando non ci credevo più, ti ho visto
e ho capito che eri tu. Perché
il tuo sguardo è un abbraccio che dà forza,
un sorriso che si apre su tutto il viso;
la tua mano nel prendere la mia
m'ha accolto benvenuto come a casa.

Many times I have dreamed of holding
a hand that matched mine
a tender partner and I imagined sincere eyes that I could trust.
A wish that is unlikely to come true, I feared. Then, when I no longer believed, I saw you and realized it was you. Because
your gaze is a hug that gives strength,
a smile that opens up all over your face;
your hand in taking mine, welcomed me home.

And of course there are photos that friends made.

We each read the vows in both languages (above) and then Laura read her poem.

Exchanging rings.

Both Laura and I and the two witnesses (Monica and Gianluca) signed a document of some sort. They didn’t give us a copy but I’m sure it’s filed away somewhere in the comune.

Then since there is a little balcony overlooking the fountain of Neptune and Piazza Maggiore we had our photos taken there as it seems all newlyweds do.

Also with our testimoni (witnesses) kind of equivalent of best man and maid of honor. Both good friends of mine and in this case Monica was my “best man” and Gianluca was the “maid of honor”. There must be two witnesses and they kind of assume the roles as I mentioned above.

And the last photo taken when we returned to our house.

By the way you may have noticed that I’m using a cane. I did some sort of damage to myself when I moved from my old apartment to the new house. I thought it was a pulled groin muscle but it has been pretty persistent and I’m having it checked out. More adventures with the health system here which I will write a post about before long.

And I almost forgot (again) to add a quote from un Bacio (the chocolate)

“Un amico e’ qualcuno che ti conosce molto bene e continua a frequentarti”

“A fiend is someone that knows you well and continues to spend time with you.”

Oscar Wilde

Of course I love to get comments.

Big News

Monday, September 28th, 2020

Yes, a major news flash! Laura and I are getting married on October 9th.

We had talked about this since late winter and since I needed to go to the consulate in Firenze (Florence) in late April to have some documents notarized for the sale of my house in Oakland I decided to complete the document (“dichiarazione giurata” – sworn statement) that must be notarized at the consulate and had that done too. At the consulate they told me that there is a time limit of the validity of said document (from one to two months, depending on the city) and I decided to take the chance and paid the $50 to have it notarized. As it turned out it was still valid when we went to the marriage office just about 2 weeks ago. I still had to have it “legalized” at the Prefettura which translates to Prefecture and I have no idea what that is. Then I need an “atto notorio” (affidavit) in the presence of a “notario”, a kind of lawyer here (with fees to match) in which two people who know me swear that they know me and there is no obstacle to the marriage. So after all of this bureaucratic nonsense – some of which is because I’m not an Italian citizen, finally we went to the marriage bureau at the ” Comune” (city hall) and presented the documents for review. They approved the documents along with the usual signatures and seals and like many bureaucratic stuff a “marca da bollo” (tax stamp) of 16 euros. They then publish a wedding announcement on a bulletin board near the office so that if anyone has reason to object they can – I think that it stays there for 8 days or something like that and for all I know it is published somewhere else. So shortly thereafter they notified us that the date for the wedding is on October 9th in the “Sala Rossa” (red room) in the Comune where weddings are held. In Italy a civil ceremony is required to be legal and some people opt to have a duplicate ceremony in a church which is purely symbolic.

A previous wedding in the Sala Rossa

The wedding is officiated by someone from the city council or possibly even the mayor and in this period the attendees are limited to 16 including us, the officiant and the required two witnesses – in this case my, and by now our, friends Monica and Gianluca. I’ve also invited 3 others so that will be 8 total in the room.

The time is noon and there is no cost and they offer live streaming of the event. So we opted for that but I have yet to figure out exactly how to get the streaming to work. It requires Javascript and Adobe Flash Player and I’ll continue to work on it. Hopefully Laura’s daughters will be able to view it as well as her friends in Torino and perhaps other friends here and even in the U.S.

If you are interested leave a comment and I can give you some further details.

Trip to Dozza

Saturday, September 26th, 2020

Since we’re not as busy with other stuff, bureaucratic, house, etc. and we wanted to make sure that the car battery was charged since we hadn’t used the car for two or three weeks we decide to go to Dozza. I had seen pictures of this little town of this little town with just over 6,000 population and was intrigued. So we relinquished our street parking space not for from our apartment. As in, let’s say, San Francisco you don’t want to vacate a good parking space for fear of only finding another one when you return a ½ mile away. But that aside, we asked the Google woman inside the cell phone to give us directions and off we went. It’s only 40 km away (about 25 miles) but did in fact take about 40 minutes including a stretch of autostrada with a toll of only 1.8 euros.

Dozza is renowned for two things, the fortress “Rocca di Dozza” and murals. The Rocca was initially constructed in the 13th century and added to at various times and it is in great shape for such an old structure. I have a photo that I took but from a limited perspective and one that I got from the web that shows what a grand fortress it is.

My photo from the restaurant where we ate lunch
The more complete view from the web

But we didn’t come for the fortress we came for the painted walls. I don’t know when the festival started but every two years people come and paint the walls. I imagine that there is some kind of vetting of prospecitve muralists to avoid really bland stuff because there is really nothing bland about these murals. Almost each one has a little label attached with the name of the artist and their city and country . They come from all over Italy of course but also from London, Berlin, Paris Budapest. I didn’t keep track but it was pretty impressive.

Walking along the main street (Laura in foreground)
I don’t remember what artist did the wood carving but the mural was by a Parisian.
I especially like this one by someone from Calabria. It is continued on the next photo.
The string joins the kite
The entrance to the restaurant (scuderia = stable, as in horse housing)
The last of my photos but you can find many more if you the link below

Link to Dozza photos.

Before leaving our house I checked on the restaurants in Dozza and they were almost all highly rated. So that is a definite plus. I selected the one most highly rated and that’s where we wound up seated outside with a view of the Rocca. And the food was delicious. Of course I always am so involved with the food that I neglect to take pictures. The pasta strozzapreti ( literally “priest stranglers”) which is a very old type of pasta from the region with a sauce of zucchini pesto that was outstanding. I did think to take a picture of the dessert after I had eaten over half of it – mascarpone which like anyway but prepared in a fashion that I’d never seen. It must have had egg yolks added given the color and there were chocolate bits but it was really spectacular. The cost for the two of us with wine was very modest – 41 euros. Too bad that its so far away I could eat there once a week.

When we returned to Bologna I was blessed by my parking karma. Just as we were driving along Santo Stefano praying for a parking space a car left a space only about 100 meters from our building. A great end of trip.

And I have been forgetting to add one of the quotes from the Baci. So here’s one that I hope you like.

Coloro che sognano di giorno sanno molte cose che sfuggono a chi sogna soltanto di notte.

Those who dream by day know many things that escape those who dream only a night.

Edgar Allen Poe

As always I’d like to know what you think of a post. I enjoy doing it but it’s nice to know that it’s being read.