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The Beauty of Italian Traditions

Someone asked a question in an expats in Italy Facebook group I'm in: what were you seeking when you moved to Italy?

My response:


I was seeking a slower, more deliberate life. The opportunity to really savor everything around me.


I think that I've certainly accomplished my goal so far!


One of the beautiful benefits of being with a man from a tiny town like Davoli is that I get to learn so many wonderful Old World traditions with his family.


Old World Italy in a Modern World



While we Americans have a dreamy vision that all of Italy is immersed in handmaking pasta and carving wooden spoons, the reality is a bit different, depending on where you are.


Just like in the U.S., people in big cities are more concerned with modern problems like traffic and work. Even in Soverato (population 9,000), there's more of a city vibe than in the smaller villages like Davoli where they grow or make so much of what they consume.


So the Italian traditions I speak of are dying off, in a way. The younger generation (many of whom abandon the tiny villages to seek their fortune in larger cities) aren't interested in making the salami or holiday sweets.


So what happens in 50 years? Will these traditions still be alive?


The Guardians of Italian Traditions

Fortunately, there are still people who hold these traditions dear and continue to practice them. Fra's family, for one.





It seems like every few weeks, they're introducing me to yet another dolce that is only made this time of year (my mouth is happy, but my waistline...not so much).


This week, we made pitte cu' nipite for Easter. They're tiny tarts filled with Nutella or marmelade, and there are as many versions as towns in this area.




I watched my new mother-in-law and aunties deftly dump stacks of flour (only 00 for sweets) on the table and hand mix eggs (fresh from the family chickens) in to make the dough.


Zia Caterina rolled the dough and cut circles with a glass (no fancy cookie cutters needed). My job was to add a dollop of filling, which sounds easier than it was, because, like Goldilocks, I kept putting too much or too little in!


Zia Mariantonia closed the cookies and pressed a fork around the edges, simultaneously letting out her usual expletives (one of the things I love about this lady). Even Fra helped by brushing the cookies with eggs.




Mamma stoked the wood oven and shoveled in the pans of pitte to cook. We were a well-oiled machine...at least until my back started hurting and I had to lay on the couch and eat cookies instead (hey, quality control is a job!).




These women are the guardians of these traditions, and it's my honor to be included. I think they love my childlike curiosity and are happy to pass the torch on to me.



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Haha, glad you are listening to your Italian Mamma!

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