Tonight I happened upon one of my all time favorites--probably my second favorite movie of all time--Under the Tuscan Sun. I recently read the book, and think that Frances Mayes is as much a visual artist as she is an author-she absolutely paints with words. The book and the movie are two separate entities, and both are so richly and lushly loverly it defies words. Watching the movie and listening to the lilt of the Italian accents brought back a wonderful memory of Rome.
We had been in Rome for several days and the gypsy hawkers and beggars were everywhere. If someone tried to catch your attention, they were either trying to sell you something or pick your pocket. We were walking down a little back street behind our hotel and came upon a marble engraving shop. It was filled with all different sized and shaped pieces of marble, mostly of the Italian version of "The Smiths: Don, Debby, Donnie and Spike" that you see hanging by peoples' doors. But right as you went in the door, there was also a giant box filled with odd shaped smallish pieces (scraps, I rectom) with little sayings and poems and such engraved in them, and just as we were about to leave, I found a small piece with just one word engraved on it: "adorabile". I was just charmed, so I asked the proprietor, a little old Italian man how much it was. His reply was something straight out of a movie. He said "You take that. You take that home with you and you will always have a piece of Rome with you." My heart.
It is probably going to be a while before I get to go back to Rome but I always have a piece of Rome with me-the little piece of marble I carry in my purse. And the memory of kissing that kindly old gentleman on the cheek for his generosity and the glow of knowing that not everyone in the world is on the take will be in my heart forever.