When walking through Italy, it's easy to get lost in the resplendence of its centuries' old architecture and romantic, sinuous alleyways, occasionally leaping out of harm's way as taxis and scooters roar through the streets and honk at you with impassioned fury. We got lost a few times. A bit turned around. Somewhat befuddled, a twinge fuzzy as to where we'd been and where we were going. But it was a glorious kind of being astray. And there was never a place or moment where we couldn't find a delicious cafe or restaurant to pop into for food and drink unlike any other we've enjoyed.
*By the way, here are a few "on the house" (pun intended) "dining in Italy" tips:
#1 - Avoid any place with a host out front inviting you in.
#2 - Avoid any place with an enormous menu depicting the dishes in large, unappealing imagery.
#3 - Don't sit your butt down at an Italian cafe when you're sipping that cappuccino. A "standing cappuccino" has a set price, but sitting a table can double, sometimes triple the cost. Italians call cafes "bars" for a reason. It's guzzle and go, baby.
One of the many sunny afternoons of our Italy meandering found us eating cacio e pepe and drinking Peroni at a restaurant around the corner from the Castel Nuovo (also known in Naples as Maschio Angioino). Next door to the restaurant was a tiny artist's studio, with hundreds of paintings stacked atop one another, some of them copies of famous Renaissance paintings, others copies of erotic Pompeiian paintings labeled "obscene" and relegated to the Gabinetto Segreto. But many, many others were her own. Tiny landscapes and seascapes, with a smoking Vesuvius in the background, and miniature people toiling away in the foreground. Something about her enormous, generous smile, her incredibly prolific creative output, her inability to speak any English, her enabling of our collective desire to dig through the layers of leaning paintings, all combined, made us incapable of leaving without snatching up a handful of her tiny oil works of art. They're currently being framed and will be up on the Lily Spindle site very soon for you to purchase. By the way, they retail for less than $60 each. How's that for a super steal? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to lay claim before anyone else!
the Lily Spindle ladies