The “Bars” in Italy are not like the ones in the United States. They are not packed with college students, singles, billiards tables, or sports playing on loud televisions. When we first arrived, that is what I thought they were. There are probably about 10 to 15 bars in every small town in Italy. Scandiano has around 30. And they are more like what we would call a cafe in the U.S. except they also serve liquor and wine. Which is why Italy is fantastic.
Each little bar has a case full of delightful pastries (some even gluten free!!!) and a small collection of indoor tables. A small patio and awning are status quo, and you can find multiple people, at any time of day, enjoying a nice espresso or croissant and people watching. Crowds begin to gather around 3:30 or 4:00 when the stores reopen and children are getting out of school.
Last week, I decided to take the kids and try our luck at a small bar just around the corner. It was a beautiful day and I needed a nice cup of tea. I knew they would enjoy a pastry (wouldn’t we all) and it might even keep them quiet enough so that I could sip my tea and leave the bar patio without any embarrassing meltdowns.
They DID enjoy their pastry, although they finished it before I was served my tea. I had to get crafty and handed Vance a bunch of coins to count. I broke down a gave Caroline my iPhone. But I believe it was a success nonetheless. There were other children there (there always are) so I didn’t feel like I was imparting on anyone’s quiet afternoon.
We came, we sat, we enjoyed, we felt Italian. I think it will become a ritual for us. I want them to get to know these types of customs that are so famous in the European culture.
We head to Rome tomorrow to meet my cousin from Chicago! We are all very excited to see a familiar face. Hopefully we will have many beautiful pictures and stories to tell you! Ciao Ciao!