Monday, June 21, 2010

A typical day in Cervinara

typical day for us begins with nature's alarm clock; at around 5:30 am the birds wake up and "the hills are alive with the sound of bird song". We generally sleep with our windows open, so their chattering back and forth is what brings us out of a deep sleep. Then Toti, the dog next door starts barking at anything that moves, and invariably someone will start up a chain saw or a weed whacker....and the neighborhood is awake. At 6 am, the church bells ring 10 times. I don't know why 10 times, they are just programmed to do 3 chimes, pause, 3 chimes, pause, 4 chimes.
We get up and go out to the bathroom, then snuggle down under the comforter to read for awhile.
Usually by 8:30 we are up and about.
Breakfast usually consists of latte and orzo ( a kind of grain based coffee substitute, since we are both off caffeine) and some sort of biscotti or bread. One of our favorites is a way to use up the old bread from the day before. We heat up the milk and orzo, put in a little sugar, then pour it over cubes of stale bread. Let it soak in for a bit, then enjoy. It's a very old fashioned breakfast, one inspired by poverty, where even the stale bread had to be consumed. It's actually very tasty.
Our mornings are devoted to our chores. I start preparing the noon meal as soon as breakfast is cleaned up. Then we do our regular sweeping up and swabbing down the place, clearing out the cobwebs and other little critters who like to take up residence. Mike usually has some repair job or organizational chore to do, while I take care of the more domestic issues.
If we are going to go shopping, we must do it before 1 pm because everything closes down from 1-4. We may run down to the hardware store for some item or another, I wait for Carlo to come with his fruits and vegetables, we may do a quick stop to the LIDL store, our local supermarket. All chores, shopping and any visiting must be finished up by 1:00 because that is when it is lunch time. Everyone knows that you do not phone anyone at those hours, nor do you expect to be able to run errands, because the afternoon break is sacred.
The noon meal usually consists of a first course (pasta, soup or rice), followed by a second course (meat, veg or salad), followed by fruit and perhaps coffee. A nap is often called for at this time, or else just an hour of watching TV or reading. At 3:00, it's time for the merenda. This is a small snack or quick little dessert. It may be a little gelato, or a biscotto and coffee, or another piece of fruit. By 4, everyone is back to work, and they will stay there until at least 8-9:00 pm.
At 6:00, the church bells ring again, calling everyone to the evening mass. That usually lasts about an hour. When church gets out, it's like rush hour. All the ladies come out of the church and stroll arm in arm up the hill, chatting and gossiping and discussing the latest news. The sound of this gaggle of women is amazing! Very often, the women will meet up with their husbands who have been spending their time playing cards at the bar. They are secure in the knowledge that their wives have been to church and have prayed to get their husbands into heaven!
We usually have supper around 8 pm. That usually consists of some leftovers from lunch, a salad and some bread and cheese, or perhaps an omelet or a caprese salad. It's light, requires little preparation and is over quickly. A stroll to the piazza may be our evening activity or a visit to the fellows in the bar to chat over the day's business will complete our day. We will watch whatever game is on the TV, or maybe enjoy an episode of Numbers, Murder She Wrote or a Lifetime Network made for tv movie, dubbed into Italian.
We usually head for bed by 10:30-11:00 pm, ready to snuggle under the covers for another night's sleep.
Buona Notte!


  1. Dorothy & Michele,

    La Dolce Vita, indeed! Life in Cervinara seems idyllic. Dorothy, I love your posts and photos which almost make me feel as though I am once again in Italy. Enjoy the rest of your stay.

    Warmest regards,
    Francesca Cerchia Pensa

  2. Thanks again for this. I'm from Troy, whose grandparents emigrated from Cervinara and Montemarano, to Troy in the early 1900's. I'm also a teacher, and am interested in how you ended up in Cervinara. Do you teach there? If so, what subject. I still have many cousins in Cervinara named Merola and Ricci.
    Keep writing!!
    Jimmy Coscia

  3. Hi Jimmy. My husband and his family were from Cervinara. There are still lots of cousins there but all of his siblings have moved away and go to Cervinara just for holidays. We live in CT, and he has a brother who lives about an hour away from Cervinara. When we retired, we decided to split our time between the US and Italy. Now that we have two grandsons, we never want to be gone for six months, so we will go for anywhere between 2-4 months at a time. We live up in the Ioffredo section of town that was badly damaged in the floods and mudslides of 20 years ago.