(October 4, 2015) I have often made friends with renters staying in Stefano Antinucci’s vacation apartment across the piazza—especially when they are Americans. I met Rip and Carol (from New Jersey) the year before, and then they returned this time without the other couple who had traveled with them. I am a resource for questions in English, I often loan out my American 12-cup coffee maker (everyone gets a cup of coffee at once, unlike with an espresso maker), and I always make myself available if they need help with reservations in Italian, or any other needs during their stay.
Stefano has two rental units—a house above Spello up on Mt. Subasio, with a tremendous view but isolated, and the 2-bedroom apartment across the piazza where I met Rip and Carol. I was invited to come to dinner at Stefano’s, along with Rip and Carol, and we joined the Australian couple staying up in the mountain house at the same time. I didn’t know when I was invited, but I was the only bilingual (sort of) person at the table, and I had my job all evening translating when needed, both for the English speakers, and for our hosts, Stefano and Anna. It took a minute or two, but then I realized how I happened to fit in with this group—as the translator.
As we arrived, Anna was finishing up making fresh ravioli, filled with ricotta and spinach. Carol and I hovered to watch, and Anna produced dozens of ravioli—to be cooked and served to us in only a few minutes.
We were started with several antipasti, including one with spinach, chicory, mushrooms and olives, and wrapped in a beautiful coating of light puff pastry. Next, the primi—we were served the ravioli that we had just seen Anna preparing. Our second course was “faraona,” or what we would call guinea fowl, braised in a Dutch oven with artichokes and green olives. We all raved about our dinners, down to the final dessert, and were treated to a wonderful meal and evening by the hosts for all of us—Stefano and his wife, Anna.