The people make the place

When I first thought about using my very childlike Italian in Italy I thought that I would embarrass myself and the people that I was trying to communicate with. What I did not take into the account was the Italian people.

Although I have now visited Italy many times my Italian is still very tentative but I am no longer afraid to experiment with language. Almost every Italian I have tried to talk to has been very patient and the conversation often turns into a language lesson. I have even made friends through these ad hoc language lessons.

During the course of my usual five weeks in Florence a couple of years ago, I have my breakfast in the same cafe every morning and found that I often went there for lunch or dinner as well. I started to know the names of the staff at Caffe Maioli, across from the southern end of the Ponte Vecchio and they started to remember my particular favourites for food and drink. I tried really hard to speak in Italian and to understand what they were saying to me. If I would make mistake one of them would correct me in the most gentle and friendly manner.

I learned the names of my favourite pastries very quickly because I could not have it unless I asked in Italian. I particularly enjoy a ciambella which is an Italian version of the donut but much, much nicer. There is a recipe for making this sweet treat on this web site but I think it’s better to have someone else make it for you.

I recommend that you go and visit Caffe Maioli for a coffee and a treat. Smile and be nice to the barrister and leave a tip because they do work very long days to keep us feed. Remember that it is the norm in Italy to pay more to eat at a table than it does to take your coffee at the bar. You are also in the thick of the tourist area so expect prices to be higher.

Tell them Roberta from Australia sent you.

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