Tailor talk-Vittorio to Sabato: "I'm sending you some more suits"
My tailor back home, Sabato Napolitano, is going to be real happy. I’m bringing back a pair of Italian suits that he will lovingly caress and reshape to fit my new svelte body (that is if I don’t stop eating all this incredible food).
Yesterday as my colleague and I left Emilia Romagna and headed down the A14 (Adriatic route) towards the Marche, our friend Stefano Salvini recommended a seafood restaurant in Pesaro. “Go there for good fish. Really good fish.” Happily it coincided that we would be driving by this sleepy little beach town right at lunch time. So we had a plan.
Sabato to Vittorio: "Make my day!" (photo by Jeremy Parzen)
I wanted to drive through the town of Predappio and see where Mussolini grew up. It is a repository of Art Deco buildings, some of which are in serious need of restoration. It’s a bizarre little town, having such an infamous person as Il Duce as one of their homegrown products. I am sitting on a set of pictures for another post for a more pensive time. But it’s Sabato (Saturday) and we have a mission.
Eating light-you get the picture
After a “light” lunch of anchovies and melon and green beans, gamberi, a little crudo, an incredibly delicious pasta with delights from the sea, finishes off with a fritto misto and a bottle of Bianchello di Metauro (starting to sound like an A.J. Liebling lunch?) we strolled the beach. These little Adriatic coastal towns are some of my favorite places in Italy. Maybe because it reminds me a little of my California days ( La Jolla with really good Italian food?). Really the reason is because of the great memories of have of coming “home” to Italy and often heading here. The scene is relaxed, the people are mellow, the food, did I tell you how great the food is here? And the wine, crisp white wines that aren’t fussed with, and you get the picture. But today was about shopping.
We were met by another Stefano, our friend Illuminati, at the hotel in San Benedetto del Tronto. We had an “appointment” in the Marche hills on the way to Offida, to meet another old friend, Vittorio Boccabianca to get “suited up”.
I was fascinated by the rack of “important” suits, clothes for weddings, confirmations, first communions. This gold suit screamed “Elvis”, I don't know how I resisted its siren call. But if I were a musician, or a magician, it would have been going home with me. Senza dubbio.
As it was I went the conservative dark gray suit and midnight blue (trust me, the flash) pinstripe route. These are some mighty fine threads. Up in the hills the little factories supply the expensive boutiques in Rome, Milan and Florence, and if you go to the source you can get a pretty good deal. Let’s just say I did alright.
Eugenio, Graziella and Vittorio in 2001
Vittorio was the best friend of my old pal, Eugenio Spinozzi, who lived in the area. They would hang out when both of them were home from their traveling salesmen jobs. I used to love hanging with them in the 1990’s along with Vittorio’s lady, Graziella. Good times. Bon anima Eugenio.
Vittorio and Graziela have been "going together" for as long as I can remember - they live separately. She takes care of her ailing mother. But he is philosophical about it. “Women, they share our joy, they double our suffering and the triple our spending.” Yeah, Vito, but we can’t live without them, now can we?
Vittorio is one of the great characters in anyone's life. I remember him walking his dog, Dick, on the beach and meeting us for a gelato and a grappa. Now, Vittorio doesn’t travel as much, but we travel to him and he has the hook up for fine threads. He and his colleague, also named Stefano, turned us on to a shoe store nearby. And I bought me a couple of pairs of shoes – Made it Italy – as shoes were meant, by God, to be made.
Before we headed back down the hill, for another meal of fresh, delicious, succulent seafood ( I did tell you how great the food was here, didn’t I?) Vittorio pressed me to buy some ties. I have several over the year that he has supplied me with. And this year the ties are getting skinny again (like me – if I stop eating so much of this really fine food over here). So I bought a couple of ties. Vittorio gave me a third (non c'è due senza tre ties) and showed me this article on how men tie ties and how it relates to Freudian psychology and what kind of man you are by the knot. It looked pretty kooky, but I allowed myself this short epistemological detour, on the wine trail in Italy.
Now where was that restaurant? I need me some Italian wine. After all, it is the weekend…