Italian Pastries and Friendly Local Shop Owners
I just walked to a little shop that’s only about three minutes away. Locals sit at the few tables inside, chatting about … well, I don’t know what they’re talking about – it’s in Italian – but I imagine “the neighborhood happenings.” They’re engaged and full of gestures, like you can only be when you know each other very well. They’ve probably been coming here for years.
Everyone who comes in exclaims “Ciao!” to which everyone responds with “Ciao!” And, when someone leaves? The same. It’s the full-on local experience. I love it.
This tiny shop sells some divine pastries, a few essentials, and it’s complete with a beautiful espresso machine.
Truth be told, all the cafes and bars, even rest stops along the highway (called an Autogrill), have top-of-the-line, shiny, gorgeous espresso machines. These Autogrills are pretty amazing while roadtripping, offering great food (lots of local items) and coffee, etc.
They’re superior to any American truck stop I’ve ever seen.
I can’t help but just stare at these espresso machines, admiring them from across the bar. They’re dreamy. I’m sure the locals think I’m a bit spacey when I do this. But, I’m in awe. I’m fascinated that I’m actually living here, and I get to participate in this amazing culture.
So, really, it’s a combination of gratitude and excitement that hits me, when I enter a bar or shop and see these machines which are so important in this culture. It strikes me that this dream I had is true now.
It’s every time, too. Every bar or cafe I enter, I get the same fluttering in my tummy.
So, this little place I’m writing about today is not far from where I live.
It’s a tiny little store on a corner where a road intersects with a street of lovely Italian houses. This little shop has delicious-looking pastries and items like butter, milk, and pasta, in case you need something quickly, and you don’t want to make a trip to a bigger store.
I fell in love with the owner, Antonella, on my first visit.
Like many of the owners of cafes and restaurants I’ve visited in Rovigo (Italy), she is sincerely happy and eager to help. Calm and full of life at the same time.
Even though it’s my first visit, it’s like she wants to make it personal. Yet, she has no idea if she’ll ever see me again. No one is in a hurry to rush me.
When I struggle with my Italian words, she stands across from me patiently waiting and encouraging me with her warm smile. I’m unrushed. What a beautiful feeling.
On this day, I buy two pastries for Kamea. I can’t decide which one to buy so I choose both. Why not? Living la dolce vita – literally and figuratively.
As I leave the shop, I shout out my own “Ciao” and everyone responds in kind. Italy is addictive.