La Signora: Il Capo d’Italia
April 1, 2012 by orvietoorbust
People often speak about the traditional “Signora” as if she were a charming part of Italian society long since past. Don’t you believe it! La Signora is quite alive and well and combing the streets of Orvieto in search of a naïve and insecure American like me to use for target practice to sharpen her skills of intimidation. Frankly, I live in terror of getting on the bad side of one of these ladies.
I had my first real run in with La Signora at our town’s Saturday outdoor market. I’d made the amateurish blunder of hesitating for a split second and a woman with her produce-filled cart literally ran over me, scraping the back of my heel which broke the strap of my favorite pair of sandals. She didn’t even slow down – blowing right past me without a word. She was surprisingly unaffected by the ranting and cursing of a bloodied lunatic who doesn’t know her way around a vegetable stand. I learned at that moment that La Signora, like other people of great power and influence, is a force to be reckoned with.
La Signora demands respect and she most assuredly gets it. She is a sensible shoe-wearing, evil eye-casting, mama’s boy-promoting woman on a mission. She is serious-minded, takes no prisoners and doesn’t trust you as far as she can throw you. Her outside shell is tough to penetrate – Fort Knox would be easier to crack than her personal inner sanctum.
I both admire and revere La Signora. She is able to out cook, out shop and out walk me up a hill…and if she needed to, I believe she could even out run me. In Italy, La Signora reigns supreme.
by Toni DeBella