Saturday, April 05, 2008

in a florentine trattori

I'm writing this in Florence, having arrived earlier today and spent a happy but exhausting afternoon walking around this most beautiful of cities. I'll come back to this, but let it be known that I'm pretty certain I've never been anywhere as stunning as this place; a complex, gorgeous medieval puzzle, and the bluest of skies to boot.

After an afternoon of walking, admiring the momentous architecture and the wonderful dress-sense of Italians, I find myself sipping birra and waiting for antipasti in a trattori in the Piazza della Repubblica. Standing just beyond the entrance I spot a couple I immediately finger as fellow Brits. Every now and again a waiter advances towards them, inviting them to take a table, and on each occasion they back quickly away, as if avoiding the tide.

Eventually they are persuaded to occupy the table next to mine. The man wears unfashionable glasses, his hair cropped short to disguise the fact that he is balding. He is dressed for winter, tucked into a navy blue North-Face ski-jumper. I wonder if I look as incredibly English as he does. I take to him and his wife, who looks exactly like Harriet Harman, immediately, because as they chat they smile and giggle at each other's jokes continously. When the time comes to order, however, I watch their faces crease in concentration, examining the menu.

"Would you like some water before you order your food", the waiter - who is suave and lean, like most Italian men I see today - asks them.

"Yes please", the man says, having examined his wife's expression, soliciting her approval.

"Certainly. Would you like still or sparkling?"

The man doesn't seem sure, so leans back, uncertain. It is as if he and his wife are connected by some invisible thread, for as he leans back she leans forward.

"Do you have any tap?", she asks.

The waiter's expression snaps into stern. "No", he says, cooly.

1 comment:

michi said...

...trattori means tractors!... I think you wanted to say trattoria! :o)