Thursday, March 3, 2011


I have just been to watch 'The Tourist' with Angelina and Johnny Depp. I am particularly fond of Johnny, although, one doesn't really know him as such, does one, as he is always behind some mask or another. The 'Mad Hatter' make up, or crazy Jack Sparrow with four sets of extra eyes, or all emo like in Edward Scissors hands.

In The Tourist he presents his real face - I think - but without giving too much away - we don't really know that because....

But I digress. The real reason for me going all the way to George, to the Big Screen was.....Venice.

Glorious Romantic Enigmatic The Last Place To See Before You Die - Venice.

I have a bit of an Italian thing going on at the moment. It started a while ago, with my good friend Jamie, who I took a virtual cookery tour of Italy with. L fed the relationship when he bought me the 'Jamies Italy' cookbook for Christmas...and my food has had an Italian flavour ever since.

A good friend once commented that, no matter what our financial circumstances are we always have a good bottle of Olive oil . Its true, I have fed the family solely from our vegetable garden at times, but those veggie roasts were always a feast - because of olive oil. The Italians, naturally , know that, a couple of tomatoes, a medley of peppers, a zucchini complete with gorgeous yellow flower, a good glug of olive oil... Voila!

I have noticed that it is also a phase Hollywood seems to be going through at present. A lot of films are being shot in Europe. Bored, no doubt, by the pace and face of Manhattan and other city scapes they have swapped all that modernity for Tuscany, Provence or the ancient, cobbled, scooter driven lanes of the Old World. Like Venice.

Or Rome.

I watched Eat Pray Love the other day. I thought I was going to enjoy Julia Roberts (always been a fan) , but as it turned out it was Rome that captivated me. Rome and the Italian language, the gestures that accompany it, the food, arriabatta, carbonara, spaghetti, pizza, puttenesca,minestrone...tiramisu!
La Convivialita!

A language of foodie love making. Sensual. Indulgent. Excessive.

I have been teaching my son all about the Renaissance. Italy is conspiring to captivate me with its allure at every turn. Michelangelo, da Vinci, Donatello, Raphael...and on and on. We pour over photos of painted ceilings, that huge exquisite David, those multiple complex sketches of helicopters and other contraptions, way before their time in that one Italian mind.

I teach him Drama also and of cause it has to be Romeo and Juliet, and so am I thinking of passion, tragedy, and the masked balls .....
Italia is everywhere I look!

The last straw was a wedding.

Family of L made their way to Mossel Bay the other day. A wild girl women, once a rebellious family member, now a serene and beautiful, elegant woman was to wed. And her groom, complete with an entourage of brothers, sisters and children, was to fly in.
And of cause, they all are Roman, those to-be in-laws. When we met, the first thing I thought was that the children (adolescents) had skin like alabaster. They had dark hair, dark eyes, a little English and dispensed kisses, left, right, left....I was enthralled.

The wedding vows were on the beach, and we were all dressed in white, or the colours of the sand, and the gazebo wedding bower was strung with shells. A pod of dolphins blessed us all with some foamy surfing tricks, just as the vows were said.

There was a posse of paparazzi cellphones, and in some photos the Italian groom was strung with vine like seaweed and shells. I thought he might be like Neptune or some other Roman god.

Later in the Restaurant shack, tottering on the dunes, we ate seafood with a mussel shell, and the blonde bride and her dark haired man put on Swing and danced it for us, barefoot.

There was an orange moon that came up over a purple and turquoise sea and all, like statues holding cellphones aloft, recorded it all.

But not me.

I watched, from the shadows, attired also all in Roman white, while those children,with names like Renaissance painters, flitted like moths in cream and white lace and kicked off their shoes and danced ...

So, all this has been good for Steves Trattorio in Sedgefield. It's the closest I can get right now to Italy. It has da Vinci sketches on the wall and the most excellent pasta and pizza.

We drank wine there the other day with our meal and made plans to go. Dreamy plans to go to Italy. Soon. To trawl the galleries and canals in gondalas and to eat and be merry.

La Dolce Vita!


  1. Very well written, I feel i'm in Italy!

  2. A phrase you might find handy "Vuoi dell' erba?" ....Arivederci ..Giovanni, Augustino Conterio

  3. Michelle, you write so beautifully. I always look forward to your next blogs. 'Letters to Juliet' watched with my daughter had the same effect on me.