Old fashioned town

When I was growing up, Thursday afternoon was the time the banks didn’t open. And shops didn’t stay open late, ever. And never on a Sunday, would anything be open except restaurants. Even in my 20s in a small town called Jackson Ohio it was the same.

Umbertide is like the towns from my youth, only more so. I am sure I have mentioned the “pausa” here in this journal before. For those not familiar, it is similar to the Spanish Siesta. All stores and offices close at 12:30 or 1:00 and stay closed until 4:00 or 4:30. This happens all over Italy except for the biggest cities (still small shops will close there too) and also tourist towns whose shops stay open all day. On Sunday, only the four grocery stores in town open, and only in the morning. All this takes quite a bit of getting used to for us immigrants. Italians also don’t like to rush into the week too quickly. Many places open on Monday afternoon but not Monday morning. This means one never plans anything on Monday morning. It is the way!

I was reminded of all of this this morning when walking back from the market. There are two little shops along Via Roma, one of the shopping streets. One is a housewares shop (Brescia Casalinghi). Lots of pretty nice stuff, plus stuff outside on sale for cheap.

The other shop is named Idee di Nuove di Volpi. It sells everything it seems. Casalinghi (housewares), articoli di regali (gifts), cornici (frames) and ferramenta (hardware). Yep a diverse offering! I love to browse in there. All sorts of stuff. I think in the US we called it a Sundries Shop, an old fashioned word. This picture is at Christmas with cute stuffed elves.

Florist – fioraia – next door.

Every town also has its “Chinese store”. They are always owned and run by Chinese. They are full of cheap stuff. Pretty much whatever you need, you’ll find it there, and cheap, but don’t expect it to last.

As an aside, this building is a fixture. It has been for sale forever, from way before we moved here. We could see it from our last apartment. It is a palazzo of great age. It is built into the city walls. It had fallen into disrepair. But the new super bonus incentive here and the fact it was bought by the city has allowed it to be restored. The scaffolding is gone and it looks terrific. I love that top floor loggia. I am not sure but I think it will be apartments.

It has gotten cold for Italy anyway. It is never terribly cold. Otherwise we wouldn’t have olives. But it sure feels cold. Stai caldo – stay warm! Un abbraccio a tutti e buona domenica!

6 thoughts on “Old fashioned town

  1. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Lindsay, my husband and I always said the US should adopt the slow entry into the workweek! 🙂 Iould have loved it. If I find out what happens with the palazzo I will report back!

  2. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Shawn, congratulations on your purchase! Glad you’re enjoying the blog. I’m not sure you know but I thought I should mention that unless you’re a EU citizen or have acquired a visa, you can’t come here for 6 months consecutively. You can come for 90 days, then leave for 90 days. That totals 6 months but just in 2 pieces. Just in case you didn’t know. I hope you enjoy Umbria!

  3. Lindsay

    Yes, well I rather wish we would adopt the Monday morning rule here.As it is there’s a kind of unofficial closure, as in don’t try to arrange anything sensible until it’s well past lunch time !
    It will be interesting to see what they do with the palazzo.

  4. Shawn Churchman

    Ciao Nancy,
    I’m so glad I found your blog. My husband and I just closed on a lovely property in Marciano della Chiana – really not that far from Umbertide. We will not be moving permanently, but intend to spend at least 6 months of the year in Marciano. I’ve yet to work my way through your entire blog – but I will! It’s very informative. Anyway, thanks for what you do!
    Shawn and Tom

  5. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hey Matt, yes we are blessed with an old fashioned town and region. But much of Italy, not in the north, is still like this so never fear. I don’t think it will go away soon. But I fear it will eventually.

  6. Matthew Daub

    Another great post! My wife and I loved the “Riposo,” another term for the “pausa.” It’s a time to relax and have a slow lunch with friends and family, take a nap–one of the things that makes Italy Italy. It always bothered us to see it being honored less and less. You’re fortunate to live in a town that puts people ahead of commerce.

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