My Secret Garden

“…be still with me in bella Italia. This is the essence of dolce vita.”

So there I was coming down the interior stairwell in a large apartment building. As I stepped onto the 2nd floor landing, I heard beautiful music wafting in from an open stained glass door in the foyer. I was confused why there was a door and assumed it was a balcony. Curious about the music, I stepped around to look out and saw this enchanting secret garden.

It is hard to define perfection. At 4 p.m. there was a heavy, indolent feel to the hot sun as it refused to give up its grasp on the longest day of the year. Yet, the shade of the old olive tree and vines cooled the space by several degrees. I could hear crickets and birds dueling for notice above the piano serenade next door. The grass needed tending, but offered a casual backdrop for the empty pots, and broken lawnmower.

I heard the gnome say, “Don’t think about the grass and weeds. Unfold the chair and sit in the shade with me. Count the hydrangea blooms. Watch the butterflies and bees. Savor the solstice and be still with me in bella Italia. This is the essence of dolce vita.”

It moved me to tears. 

#day13 #1017daysinitaly 

Are you here for the Polish pottery?

I’m a good Army wife. I love Polish pottery. Do I need any? Absolutely not. Do I need any before I even move in the house? An even bigger no. Did Jerry’s head explode when he heard about this excursion? Of course! So there I am scrolling through trying to figure out what’s going on in this new place and one of the ladies in the Facebook group here posts that Lucas, the ex-pat who gives cooking lessons, also apparently goes to Poland every now and then and buys pottery and brings it back to sell. Game on. Does it matter that all I have is an address? No. I naturally assume he has a storefront. After all I have an address on one of the main roads in downtown Vicenza.


The store with the pink in the window is where I thought I would find Polish pottery.

When I get there, I quickly discovered that there is no storefront. There’s just an open courtyard and a big apartment building. Now in the States I would’ve been very leery about punching a button and going up to some strange man’s apartment even if it was just to look at Polish pottery. I take a chance here. After I finally figure out which bell to ring, I am buzzed in.

I still don’t know actually what apartment to go to but I head up the stairwell. Down comes a lanky young blonde kid, not the ex-pat I expected. He says to me, “Are you here for the Polish pottery?” Yes, yes I am. Never mind that in my head it sounded like he said, “Are you here for some drugs?”

Anyway, I’m escorted into a lovely little apartment with tables stacked with Polish pottery—it’s stacked under the tables, it’s stacked on shelves by the window. It is everywhere. I succumb to temptation and buy a small jar (or two) to keep my balsalmic vinegar.


Aren’t the colors gorgeous on the platter and jar?

The young gentleman and I chat as well as we can given the language thing. I get out my cash and prepare to slip it to him when no one is looking. Just kidding. I hand it to him over the table and he writes me a very official looking receipt in case it gets broken and I need to file a claim. I say my goodbyes and leave.

I just want credit that in less than 14 days I found Polish pottery in Italy. Who is going with me to Poland for the big haul? 

#day13 #1017daysinitaly