Being Italian, Sardinia July 2019

My journey has taken an unexpected twist as I was invited by friends who live in Verona to stay with them briefly at their holiday house in Sardinia. July is an excellent time to hike in the mountains in Italy but the Italians know to escape the midsummer heat and crowds of the cities over the European 2 month vacation.

Sardinia is an Island in the Mediterranean geographically closer to Africa (the coast of Tunisia) than the rest of Europe. My adopted Italian family for the week have a villa on the tiny island of San Pietro. The house sits on a hill surrounded by groves of olive and cork trees with wide patios to provide shade from the baking sun. At this time of year the Mistral winds gush fresh and the large patio table is the pleasant place for the family to gather to enjoy the fresh Mediterranean weather.

There is a sense of family, community and tradition which remains very strong in Italy and which I have also come to cherish. The good life on San Pietro has included the mandatory morning trip into the town for an espresso coffee at a local cafe (taken standing at the counter de rigeur). My friend Sandro would make the rounds to the bakery for fresh bread rolls, the deli for cheeses, fresh ricotta and buffalo mozzarella and the butchers for local salsiccia  (beef sausage made in the round with spices and fennel) that was destined for the outdoor barbecue. Local olive oils and Carignano red wine also grace the table along with hand made pastas produced in the village. The weekly Wednesday market was the source of aged sheep cheeses and cured salami.

It’s an age-old recipe for the good life that many of us have forgotten- the art of breaking bread and eating delicious fresh food around a large table with family. Travel is something that brings new experiences but sometimes it reminds you of older forgotten truths and how life is lived a little differently all around the world (sometimes better and sometimes worse than what we know). 

So did I sit still in a Mediterranean island for a few days I hear you ask? Well of course not as the days were still packed with boat trips, scuba diving and exploring the narrow streets of the medieval town. But my best memories of San Pietro will be the gatherings at a large table with friends and the chance to be Italian for a week.

Mille grazie a Ada, Sandro, Luca, Cristina e Olivia.. e ai cani Rula e Nelson.

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