Skip to main content


Locked down but not out in Italy

Singing from the balconies! One nice thing about this crisis ... solidarity! “Guess you’re not living like a tourist anymore,” was the funny, truthful and somewhat gut-wrenching message of a friend the day the lockdown in Italy began. Today is day 6. My beloved Italia has been hit hard with the COVID19 epidemic. With the second largest elderly population in the world, the epidemic has meant a disproportionate amount of deaths in the country. So though I haven’t been worried about contracting it myself, this isn’t about me or someone like me who, if contracted it would probably have a sucky couple of weeks and then recover. It is about if someone like me contracted it and then spread it to a person with a complicated health history or an elderly person with a weakened immune system. Eerily orderly: Lines for the grocery store, each person one meter apart In a country with no concept (and no physical room really) for personal space, and in a city with reproachable hygie

Revealing my inner snob

So as someone who is not a natural morning person but who is now in the situation of waking up at 6am every morning, espresso is my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Being in an entirely new building, in a fairly new city, I made my way to the food court downstairs (yes, an entire food court), and I was THRILLED to discover that, directly in my line of sight, right before my very eyes was GELATISSIMO, a gelato and espresso stand.

As per my Lenten promise, I am not allowed to have chocolate, so gelato was not as tempting as it normally is, but espresso... oh espresso was more tempting than ever.

So I did something that I have never done before: I ordered an espresso in the United States of America. I know. I know. I am a coffee snob. I apologize; I do. However, Italy has ruined me, and there is nothing I can do about it. Instead, I tend to just see coffee here as an entirely different product, drunk in entirely different quantities, with an entirely different taste and consistency. And in this way, I can like American drip coffee. However, I don't dare ever order an espresso in the U.S. because I know that my snobbish airs will stir and that my nose will involuntarily lift up probably at the very sight of an American espresso. (Again, I apologize.)

I don't know then if it was desperation or the spirit of adventure that lured me to ordering an espresso, but I am truly glad that I did. It was fantastic! Again, perhaps it was desperation that invigorated my taste buds or perhaps it was convincingly enough "Italian" for my snootiness to be appeased... or perhaps it really was just a very well made illy espresso, which is the answer I am going with.

Regardless, it made me happy to know that, even though new building is not situated in Rome, I have gelato and illy right downstairs.