Monday, July 12, 2004


JULY 12, 2004

Rebecca’s coming to our house for dinner!!! For those of you who don’t realize what an honor this is, and how much fun it will be, let me tell you a little bit about Rebecca and how we came to know her. As with all my stories, it can’t be short.

Back during the time when we were first falling in love with Italy, we planned a family trip to Italy. My daughter, her husband, and their son would travel to Italy with us, and we would all visit my son and his wife who were living in Italy, courtesy of the U.S. Marines.

Art and I, always wanting more time in Italy, arrived about a week before my daughter and her family. We spent a few days in Perugia, then we spent four wonderful days in an agriturismo. This is either a room or a small apartment on a working farm.

This trip was planned for late March/early April. We had been planning on this trip for over a year…ever since my son learned that he would be sent to Italy. Art and I had visited Italy for the first time the previous September, taking an organized tour and spending a few additional days on each end of it. We had also returned for a week in Florence in January, because NorthWorst Air offered a deal we couldn’t pass up. This family trip would be our third in less than seven months!

Somewhere along the line I stumbled on to the Slow Traveler’s website ( At that time there was no message board, just emails flying back and forth among a small group of people. I asked Pauline for advice about an apartment rental in Umbria, because we needed to rent for less than a week, and most vacation rentals are for one week minimum.

Pauline connected me with Jane, who suggested Brigolante ( as a possibility. I contacted the people at Brigolante, and yes! They would rent to us for less than a week! We would have a small apartment with a fireplace and a bathtub. Perfect!

Brigolante is the name of the farm owned by Rebecca, an American, and her Italian husband Stefano, and Stefan’s family. Throughout our stay, Rebecca was the perfect landlord. We had our firewood refilled promptly by just sitting the empty bucket outside the door. We had the run of the garden, and Rebecca brought us fresh eggs, fresh pasta, and home made pesto! The apartment had a washing machine, and I used her clothesline to hang up my laundry. Best of all, since Rebecca is an American, she had wonderfully thick huge American bath towels! Anyone who has ever stayed in a European hotel or vacation rental knows that you usually get something the size and weight of a dish towel. We were in heaven!

That was the spring of 2001. Fast forward to 2003. The SlowTrav message board ( is now up and running…no, thriving! We are coming to the decision that we MUST move to Italy, and the people on this board are helping us in so many ways. One of the members, an Australian, mentions that he will be staying at Brigolante on his forthcoming trip, and that this is a return visit to Brigolante.

Because he’s in contact with Rebecca concerning his stay, he suggests that she check out the SlowTalk site. She does, and she starts to participate! This is great news for us…another American right in our new neighborhood.

After a short time, everyone reading the message board discovers that Rebecca is a GREAT writer…and that she’s HILARIOUS! She starts to write some essays about various aspects of Italian life, and Pauline, the originator of the SlowTrav website, gives Rebecca her own section for these essays. You can read her stuff at:

At some point I tell Rebecca that we once stayed with her, but of course since it was so long ago, and just for a few days, she doesn’t remember us. We figure we’ll get re-acquainted once we move to Italy.

Time goes by. Rebecca emails us to say that she and her husband want to have us to dinner. Scheduling is a problem. Not only does she have a husband, she now has a two year old tearing around the house. And the farm. And all her Italian in-laws who also live on the farm. And the agriturismo. And then, she finds out that she’s pregnant! It looks like the only way we’ll ever get to see Rebecca is to rent one of the apartments at Brigolante!

I decided to take the bull by the horns, and email Rebecca to suggest dinner. I try to make the invitation as open-ended as possible. I suggest that we get together sometime between June and November, when the baby is due. This should give her enough time to fit us in.

I get a rely email suggesting certain dates, and finally we narrow it down to one night! Rebecca has to go to Perugia for a doctor’s visit, so we can meet for dinner after that. I suggest that she and her husband pick the restaurant, since they know the best places.

Once we realize that the Jazz Festival has started in Perugia, we know that we’ll need to choose a restaurant somewhere outside of the city. Rebecca asks where we are, but doesn’t know any restaurants near us. She says she’ll wait till her husband gets home and get back to us.

Then Art has a great idea…why don’t we invite them to have dinner at our house? So we send off an email, since we don’t have her phone number. And this morning she calls back to say that they would love to come for dinner, and to see the house. I don’t know how much of our story Rebecca has followed, but we’re still happy to show off our house to anyone who wants to take a look.

I’m not going to stress out about the dinner…bruschetta for an appetizer, a wonderful new pasta dish that I’ve just discovered, some roast pork, an arugula salad, and for desert, the crostata I made yesterday. A bottle of two of wine and we’re set! This should be a fun evening!


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