It is agosto, August, time stops here. I read some complaints on Facebook expat groups about the fact you can’t get anything done now because everyone is on vacation. You might be surprised, but really everything does stop. Go to your bank. There are no tellers. All construction stops. Factories close. Everyone is at the beach or in the mountains. My comment to the complainer, who said Italy can’t progress because of this stupid August thing, was to say, Viva la difference. Although it can and is frustrating to live in a culture so unlike the culture in the US. The very nature of the inconveniences make Italy, Italy. I didn’t move here for convenience and US sameness. I moved here precisely for the differences. For 45 years I worked in the “progressive” USA and fought for a work/life balance. Who is to say the crazy work, work ethic of the US is better?

On a lighter note, I walked to and from the Wednesday market and I grabbed a couple shots of this newly created “garden(?)”. I was amused. Snow White and her dwarves, fake grass, fake water lilies! Who says the Italians can’t be tacky? 🤣😂😅

I forgot to mention that we learned a little more about our apartment. Paolo, our cabinet maker, seems to be fascinated with this apartment. He was surprised, as so many are, to find a place like this in this area and in this building. Unexpected I guess.

Anyway, he must have mentioned it to other people and in the process he learned the original owner was a strange one. He had a storefront but did no business, his money sources were not known and he seemed to have no visible means of support. This means one thing to me. And you can probably guess what that is. He ended up bankrupt and this apartment went up for auction. The people we bought from were it’s second owners. I assume they got it for cheap. The original owner is no longer living. It is always interesting to learn about your house.

Again I made pesto. I wish you were here, I would give you some!

22 thoughts on “August

  1. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Kimberly, thanks. It can be hard for North Americans to embrace this. Especially when they are in the middle of a renovation and all work stops. It can be frustrating, but it is what it is! Embrace the differences and plan for them is what I say.

  2. Kimberly Ondrechak

    Love this post. Thank you for sharing. And totally agrre with you thoughts around ferragosto and the impact of it. I’m Canadian and I wish we took the time to step back and enjoy a slower pace of life from time to time. This is one of the very reasons I can’t wait to embrace and partake in italian life. ♥️

  3. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Ho Carlo, you are very right. It is why we like living in other cultures. We relish the differences. It keeps us on our toes and keeps life interesting. Seize the day indeed!

  4. Carlo

    As you know, I grew up in South America and later lived and worked in Panama and in Germany—where we met! For which I am forever grateful. I don’t think one should compare countries as if one is better than another. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, as do both Italy and the U.S. Neither lives up to all that foreigners think of them. My Italian grandparents moved to the U.S. in search of prosperity and opportunity that were unavailable to them in Italy before World War I. They started businesses here and did well. They never went back, not even to visit family. Likewise, for my Mexican-American father, his parents and grandparents. So, everything is relative to one’s perspective and situation. The moral to that story is—life is what you make and of it, for better and for worse. Carpe diem!

  5. Linda G Berglund

    Differences is what makes things interesting. You just need to pivot. Your Pesto looks great!

  6. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Terry, well, it is quite a large space and on two top floors. It is around 200 square meters (that is around d 2200 sq feet). It has a 160 square meter terrace on the top floor. This building is not so pretty from the outside and in a busy neighborhood. I guess it is just unexpected to most people. All the trades people have been floored by it

  7. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hey Lynn, we lived in Germany because we wanted to live in a new culture and because my husband really likes Germany. He became fluent in German and we both had good jobs. It was an excellent initiation to living in another culture and it is why we retired to Italy.

  8. Terry A Larson

    Hi Nancy, I’ve been following you and I’m curiuous what they find so unique about your building and apartment? Love your posts! Terry

  9. Lynn Brown

    Could you tell why you lived in Germany for 6 years? Also it’s because of the Ferragosto that things shut down as I remember…

  10. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Matt, it gets me when people travel somewhere and expect all the same things as the place they live. Or come to live somewhere else and get upset when the AC isn’t artic tundra, or they can’t get ice in their drinks. Isn’t that the whole point of travel or moving? The differences? Sigh.

  11. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Rebecca, yes isn’t that the truth? Life flys by anyway and no one has time to enjoy it. What is it all for? I used to fight my bosses about working long hours and being on-call 24/7. I refused to do it. I was ruined by living 6 years in Germany where they ALSO have a very well balanced work/life.

  12. Matthew Daub

    Viva la difference—exactly!! I taught a watercolor class as part of a large cultural group on our very first trip to Italy in 1994; three weeks in Montecatini. I remember many of the Americans complaining about the riposo, because they couldn’t go shopping, but this was one of the things my wife and I LOVED about Italy. I find it sad that so many cultures try and emulate ours (often not for the better).

  13. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Cynthia! I think it would be really sweet if they had actual living plants. All the plastic flowers and water lilies. I like the idea though. I lived in Germany and there, garden dwarfs were the rage!

  14. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Thanks Kathy! It is why we came! But you’ve got to have a lot of patience and be adaptable to live here!

  15. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Denise, thanks and I totally commiserate with your situation 😢. It is a soul sucking society. Here things might not happen as we want but life is better, slower, sweeter. Family and friends are all important.

  16. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Jane, well it is quite large and on two top floors. It has a 160 square meter terrace on the top floor. This building is not so pretty from the outside and in a busy neighborhood. I guess it is just unexpected to most people. All the trades people have been floored by it.

  17. Rebecca Reed

    I wish I was there also. Would love the pesto but also the lifestyle. I think it’s amazing and great that everything shuts down in August. It must be so quiet without the hustle and bustle…lazy days of summer!! As you know we don’t have those days here!!!

  18. Cynthia Galli-Jackson

    Very interesting! I love the garden! Here we call them “fairy gardens” ( at least in New England) and they have all sorts of little figurines and flowers and tiny animals. It all depends on the ingenuity of the person making them. Children love making them here as well! I love the Snow White themed one❤️


  19. Denise

    Bravo, Nancy, you nailed it. I am tired of the rat race culture in America that barely allows for women to bear children. We have great “freedom” but are working 60 plus hours a week, trying to squeeze in time to think. Eating lunch in the break room, if you get to eat during the day, consists of people staring at their cellphones and scrolling while shoveling food in. No one speaks. And I’m a nurse and work ina clinic- so this is our “health care.” Glad the Italians can take a break and enjoy family and friends for a few weeks.

  20. Jane

    Hi Nancy, maybe I missed it in another post, but what are the features of your new apartment that make it so unusual?

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