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Living on Italian time

By Carol / May 22, 2011 / No Comments

We’ve adjusted to biking or walking. We’ve adjusted to hanging our laundry out on the patio. We’ve adjusted to buying only enough groceries to last a day or two, because that’s what fits in our backpacks. We have not yet fully adjusted to Italian time.

In our first days in Massa Macinaia, we learned that the supermarket opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m. But it closes for an hour and a half after lunch, as do the bank and other stores in that area. Allowing everyone to take a lunch break or an afternoon nap is civilized.

Everything in Italy trends to later in the evening. Restaurants don’t begin serving until 7 p.m. Even an artisanal gelato shop stays open until 11 p.m. We were reminded of this a few days ago when we arrived at a restaurant at 6, only to have the nice young man tell us they could do nothing until 7 … or so.

Complicating the schedule is that businesses vary on days of the week they are closed. Our favorite pizza restaurant, for instance, is only open Thursday – Sunday.

For Americans used to 24-7 access, this has all taken some getting used to. But that’s part of the fun. We thought we had quite a good handle on the time thing until yesterday.

Yesterday, we biked to Guamo for lunch at a pizza restaurant we spotted on our last visit to the town and to take in the local art festival. The festival was scheduled to start at 1 p.m. We figured by the time we enjoyed a leisurely lunch, the festival would be in full swing.

When we biked past the festival grounds at 12:45, only two or three vendor spots were taken. A handful of people milled around a food tent. Perhaps a 1 p.m. start meant: we start setting up then.  Our luck at lunch was no better. The restaurant was open, but pizza was ‘no possible’ until the evening.

At this point, we figured our best bet was to swing by the supermarket deli, pick up something to eat at home and then return at 4 p.m. We biked to the supermarket. Oh, yeah, they were closed for the lunch break.

In a nod to Italian time, I didn’t post yesterday. I am closed for business on the third Saturday in May.

Ciao!

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Carol

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