Posts Tagged ‘living in Italy’

Sometimes it’s better to admit defeat—especially when it appears your opponents have the upper hand (and the youth and energy to outlast you.)

I could “go full postal” on these boys, but what would that accomplish, really? If my goal is to live harmoniously with others who share this little alley with me, then it’s time I wave the white flag of surrender and call a truce.

As I sit here on my stoop waiting for the owner of this lovely dirt bike to arrive, I wonder if he’ll be open to easing our hostility and strained relations too. I’m calling for an armistice: The end of our Vicolo Wars.

This is the final chapter in the continuing saga taking place in my little alley. (Read Vicolo Wars, Vicolo Wars: The Sequel and Vicolo World War III.)


Read Full Post »

Close up of Brian

Some people live where they happened to be born, where they got a job or where a spouse is from. But some of us, like my friend Brian, chose our home. Brian is an example that it’s never to late to realize a dream or change your life. I once asked him, “How do I explain to people why I chose to live here in Orvieto? His answer is now mine: “It’s easy, just tell them it’s BECAUSE YOU LIKE IT!” Live, dream and do! That’s my friend, Brian.

Want to know more about Brian? Read a post I wrote about him back in 2012 here.

Like! Share! Visit!

‪#‎31daysofOrvieto‬ ‪#‎orvietoorbust‬‪#‎livingthedream‬ ‪#‎Italytravel‬ ‪#‎Orvieto‬ ‪#‎Italy‬

Read Full Post »

Vicolo scooter

THE SAGA CONTINUES… (Read Vicolo Wars here).

Since declaring war in my little alley things have gone from bad to worse. 

Remember the plants that I couldn’t water when motorcycles were parked underneath the windowsill? Not a problem any longer – my flowers pots disappeared one by one by one…

Flowers and sign

Rough Translation: “For the person who stole my vase of flowers. Shame!”

When the cold winter weather arrived the scooters moved out and the dog walkers moved in… 


Rough Translation: “Someone lives on this vicolo. It’s not a bathroom for your dogs.”

**(Note: Sign disappeared 5 minutes after I posted it).

Oh, how I miss the days when young girls only sat on the stoop and smoked. Now drunk teenagers scream and barf on my doorstep at 2:30 a.m. leaving broken beer bottles to step on in the morning. I admit it was sort of amusing listening through the door as a group of confused offenders discussed the sign. I think the sarcasm might have gone over their inebriated little heads…


Rough Translation: “To be young is a beautiful thing. Please be young somewhere else.” 

Vicolo War is hell.


by Toni DeBella





Read Full Post »

This is an actual email I received this morning from a friend:

IMG_1344Soooo….how is everything?

Lots of rain here.

My roof is leaking.

Just got in from my second trip to JFK in a week.

I spent a week in Bangkok last month.

Tell me all about your new life.

xo. D

6 December, 2012

Dear D,

We had a flood here four weeks ago. Bad.

I sit in my office a lot in front of my computer.

I drink too many cappuccinos.

I ran into my ex the other day. Awkward.

Haven’t eaten any pasta yet.

Only ate one gelato.

Eva is a great Italian teacher.

Had to substitute her for the Italian news online.

I changed my cellular provider without help.

It took two attempts.

It rained yesterday.

Supermarket is closed on Wednesdays.

I ate cereal for dinner.

The Mayor says I belong in a category called “Orvietini”

I like it.

xo. T

by Toni DeBella


Read Full Post »

"Orvieto Sunset"

I have an Italian passport, a codice fiscale and my city library card.  I received the “friend-of-a-friend” discount on my Roman root canal and get the locals’ price for my morning caffe latte.  I’ve accumulated two tablecloths, four plug adapters, six wooden hangers, a set of espresso cups, a milk foamer, a bathmat and a thicker skin.

Going back and forth, arriving and departing, being here and then there makes my head spin!  My months in Italy have passed at lightening speed; the countdown has begun and the melancholy is setting in.  There is just over one week until I must return to my American “base camp”.  I get confused about which place I can call home: San Francisco or Orvieto?

I’m often asked if I am living la dolce vita? Stereotypes and dopey clichés are the stuff of Hollywood films, tour companies and real estate agencies – images perpetuated to sell the fantasy.  No, I don’t live either Under the Tuscan Sun or in The Dark Heart of Italy.  Honestly, this kooky existence, even with its sometimes harsh reality, beats the Eat, Pray, Love version of romanticized Italy, hands down.

The other day I overheard one women whisper to another as they passed me on the street, “There’s that americana”.  It sent me flashing back to my preteen, middle school days for a moment and then, suddenly, a satisfied smile came over my face because being the topic of town gossip, I decided, is much preferable to being invisible.

I know that I am still an outsider looking in, an invested observer circling around the perimeter of Italian life.  I quite like the view from over here…for now.  Sometimes you have to let things unfold at their own pace and in their own time.  I’d rather stay in Italy, but I must go back.  I cling to the hope that one day il destino will throw me the proverbial bone and I won’t have to leave.  Until that time comes, I will make like a bad penny and just keep turning up!

by Toni DeBella

“Orvieto Sunset” and the other images of Italy were contributed by Patrick Delaney, a fellow expat from Dublin, Ireland in the process of building a house in nearby Montecchio. Umbria.  Patrick, an architect, has been painting in oils for ten years.  He believes good paintings are about light and shade and atmosphere.  His favorite artist is Caravaggio – he only wishes he could paint like him.  (But mind you, he gets into as much trouble!)  For more information about Patrick’s work, you can contact him at delaneypm@eircom.net.

Read Full Post »

“You’re an expatriate. You’ve lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake European standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed by sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see? You hang around cafés.” 

– Ernest Hemmingway

Ahhh…the adventure and discovery of learning about my newly-adopted nation and how it functions – from the everyday (taking a number at the post office) and mundane (small town news and gossip travels like wildfire), to the intricacies of governmental bureaucracy (it took me an entire afternoon and ten forms to deposit money in a bank account).  Mastery of a new system takes an adjustment period.  How long my learning curve will be is entirely in my hands.  My passport may say I am Italian now, but I know this is a legal technicality.  I am a stranger learning to live the way people live here and it isn’t always straightforward.

A rosy outlook, tongue-biting and an almost Pollyannaish mind set is how I roll these days.  Like muttering about the August sun shining bright and hot – complain if you will, but the sun will continue to beat down on you.  My days are about sink or swim, and being educated one mistake at a time. You live, you learn.

by Toni DeBella

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: