Wednesday, July 05, 2006


On Monday we went with Wendy and a couple from Poland to look at a house in Ripavella, not too far from San Venanzo. Anna and Trevor (she’s Polish, he’s American) had contacted us after reading our blog to ask for advice and suggestions. They knew who NOT to use from reading the blog, and were concerned about finding someone honest to deal with…..and also someone who spoke English. We were happy to put them in contact with Wendy.

The house was nicely done and the grounds were beautiful….the view of Monte Castello di Vibio from the pool was stunning!   Although I don’t think this house was “the one” for Anna and Trevor, they plan to come back in October for more house-hunting and we hope to get together with them then.


It’s no secret how much we love the Testatonda family….and their food. It’s also no secret that we were so sad to see them retire from Ternana’s, but that we were very happy for them. We were so pleased that Pino and Rita would get a chance to relax, to enjoy the grandchildren and to be off their feet. We were happy for Marco and Maruska because they will now be able to pursue their dream of a bed and breakfast.

We were also quite happy to meet the new couple who’re running Ternana’s, now called Pizza Nestor. Giuseppe and Mara, from Sicily, are every bit as warm, welcoming and friendly as the Testatonda family. We joked with them they they’re staring out just like Rita and Pino did, as a young couple with a growing family, and that some day they too will retire from the pizzeria.

Still, every time we go to Pizza Nestor it’s not without a tinge of sadness, just knowing that we won’t be greeted by Rita, Pino, Marco or Maruska. Last night we went to Marsciano for a pizza, and I think we’ve finally accepted that the Testatondas are gone, and that Giuseppe and Mara are damned good replacements.

As usual, as soon as we entered, we were greeted with shouts of welcome. “How are you?!” “Is everything okay?” “Are you hot?” Just simple things, but it was the simple acts of kindness we felt from the Testatonda family that made us feel so at home every time we stepped inside, and that feeling continues with Giuseppe and Mara.

After some chit chat we ordered our pizzas and I told Mara that I wanted mine extra crispy. “Of course!” She brought us our half liter of wine and glasses for the wine and the water. She then reappeared with two plates of eggplant parmigiano….just a few bites each, but just like Rita, she’s a great cook and loves to share. Needless to say it was delicious.

The pizzas arrived and were just as we had ordered. My pizza was extra crispy, and Giuseppe brought over the bottle of spicy oil because he remembers that Art likes it. Perfetto!

As we sat letting our pizza digest, enjoying the last of the wine, Mara appeared with a plateful of sweets. We had these small fruits, which aren’t fruits at all, but sweets filled with an almond filling.
Is this what they call marzipan? We also had another sweet that was just as tasty, this one filled with pistachios. Wow! We were both so impressed, not only with the taste, but also with the thoughtfulness.

After a few minutes Mara appeared once again, this time bringing us two glasses of the Sicilian dessert wine they sell, Zibibbo, along with a piece of fruit-filled crostata! We were groaning with pleasure by the time we were finished, and I was really glad that I’d only eaten half my pizza!

Of course when the bill was presented, there was no charge for the eggplant, the sweets or the wine….those were simply little gifts, presented with love and friendship. Although we’ll always miss seeing the Testatondas on a regular basis, I think they’ve found the perfect replacements in Giuseppe and Mara.


At 7/05/2006 10:13:00 AM , Anonymous María said...

Soon the new owners will be offering you a taste of the Cassata siciliana. Watch out! It’s very sweet and chock-full of calories but well worth it.
Your post brought back memories of my Sicilian sojourns with my relatives in Palermo. Sigh.

At 7/06/2006 10:47:00 PM , Blogger chiaro di luna said...

Barb, I really enjoy seeing your photos! Thanks, J.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home