(October 22-23, 2015) Paola is adamant that when friends leave, their last meal must be at her table—and there is no finer place to eat in Umbria. In the spring, the Trowells were here with me for a month while they signed documents, shopped for furniture, and moved into their new apartment in Palazzo Salmareggi. The second month of their stay they completed the kitchen, assembled furniture, and got delivery after delivery of furniture to try to finish off their new home in Spello. This fall trip, however, was a trip to enjoy their time here, to continue to finish and furnish the apartment, all while “leaning in” to Bill’s recent retirement.
Paola and Leonardo sat us all down in the living room at the dining table for dinner together, and dish after dish came out of Paola’s kitchen (although Leonardo takes credit for preparing each one—always). It was a bittersweet gathering—knowing the Trowells were leaving the next day—but little Stella kept the mood light with her antics. All of us are thoroughly entertained by her, and she never seems to cry or fuss—or run out of energy and sleep.
Our last meal was a lighter one—lunch (“pranzo”) the next day, with pizza and some of Paola’s best appetizers, as Shelley and Bill needed to drive to Rome, turn in the rental car, and prepare for their flight out the next morning. Once again, Stella was our entertainment, and Giorgia and Arianna, both of Paola and Leonardo’s daughters, joined us.
No one was in a hurry to finish the meal—and then watch the Trowells leaving. After a final bowl of gelato and a couple of posed photos, they were gone for the year, with plans to return in the spring.