We’re havin’ a heat wave 🎶

Yup. Italy is one of the countries in Europe that’s getting slammed the next week or so. I was feeling especially sorry for the tourists in Rome and Florence. Man is it HOT! 🥵 They predict 40s starting Monday. 42C Wednesday — that’s 108F. Compound it with crowds of sweaty people and waiting in-line (no shade) to get into the sights it will be miserable.

It is natural for people to want to see the “Big Three” major sights (Rome, Florence and Venice) especially on their first trip to Italy, but I strongly advise against it in any hot and high season. Especially this year with an over abundance of tourists after Covid. So what if you’ve got to wear a jacket? It’s so much better than what is going on here now. I was talking to my Italian teacher yesterday and she got rather worked up about it all. She is adamant that Italy needs the tourist dollars, and it does, but why can it not be spread out into regions with less crowds and just as amazing things to see? Not to mention you’ll see the REAL Italy. These mega tourist destinations will be a very sad initiation to Italy. There are so many undiscovered places. Tuscany is always overrun. But Umbria, Le Marche, Abruzzo are all wonderfully uncrowded and all in the center, equally easy to reach. Go to the “Big Three” in winter, late fall, or early spring, and in summer the countryside and small towns.
In our new apartment we are getting used to managing the temperatures. I open the windows at night when it is this hot at 10pm-ish. And leave them open all night. I’ve got fans in every room pulling the cooler night air in. I watch the morning temperature closely and shut all the windows and shutters when it hits 80 outside. It stays fairly cool inside. It doesn’t get above 80 when the temperatures outside are mid nineties. The fans help a lot. At night we decided to move upstairs to the sofa bed. There are two AC units up there but that’s a big room with no doors and open stairwell to the downstairs so it doesn’t get terribly cool. But better than downstairs. Also, a bonus, it’s very quiet in that area.

Today I got out early (for me) to the market. I bought a bounty of veggies. Tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, arugula, cucumbers, potatoes, squash.

Believe it or not, between us we eat about 30 tomatoes a week.

Another thing I have to do is figure out how to make meals in this heat. Italian kitchens are usually tucked away from the main living areas. That’s good and bad. Our kitchen has a door to shut it completely off. Until today I thought that was stupid. I also have a very big hood that really pulls the heat out. So shutting the door, opening the windows and using the hood keeps it mostly cool and isolates the heat in that room. I still try to cook early, while it is cool, for dinner that night.

Today, when I came back, I roasted three tomatoes with garlic and I pressure cooked cannellini beans. Our dinner will be pasta, tossed with this sauce, beans, basil, pecorino cheese and bread crumbs. Served room temperature.

I also made pesto. I have four plants and they are all doing very well. I keep it producing by snipping the branches just before they bloom. I go down to the two itty bitty leaves below the big leaves. This allows those small leaves to grow and it doesn’t get rangy and ugly.

Remember my puny tomato plants. They are heirloom American tomatoes. A gift from my friend Joanne. Just look at them now! They look a bit messy. The basil is beside the olive tree. There are three tomatoes and a jalapeño plant. The tomatoes try to encroach on the pepper so I keep them tied up. I figure the tomatoes will ripen when we are on our cruise in August/September. My luck! My house-sitters will benefit.

I have a post half written about our upstairs kitchen reno. That is upcoming. Keep cool y’all! And Buon fine settimana! A la prossima!

9 thoughts on “We’re havin’ a heat wave 🎶

  1. Ashley

    It looks like you are coping well with the heat Nancy. Out of interest what has the humidity been like ? That’s what I find very tough, the heat / humidity mix 😳

  2. Carlo

    And, that’s not to mention Napoli, Genoa, or Reggio do Calabria (of course, I’m biased on that last one—my grandparents home.

  3. Carlo

    I would add Lecce, Puglia; Siracusa-Noto-Ragusa, Agrigento and Palermo, Sicilia; and Trieste, Friuli to your list of alternatives to Rome, Florence, and Venice.

  4. James Lupori

    Hi Nancy, yes indeed, it was really hot today in Foligno and it’s going to get hotter this week (106 by Tuesday). We enlist the same fan strategy at night. We hunker down in our living room during the day where the air conditioner is. Unfortunately, there’s really no escaping this weather. But, as you’ve illustrated, some summer produce thrives on the heat. This year the tomatoes have been delicious and I intend on making a watermelon gazpacho tomorrow!!! Stay cool!!

  5. Matthew Daub

    Thanks for the tip on trimming the basil. I’m looking at our plants as I type and they’re getting ready to bloom – time to get the scissors! I couldn’t agree more about “the big three.” When we used to run art trips to Italy, I received a phone inquiry from a woman who wanted to go to Tuscany. Our trip was to Umbria. I tried to explain that if she closed her eyes in Umbria and opened them in Tuscany she wouldn’t know the difference. No, she HAD to go to Tuscany. Stay cool!!

  6. Allisa J Imming

    It’s nearly 2:30 here in Tropea and it’s 91f in the shade of my terrazza just above the Tyrrannean. It’s too hot to go out and the sun too intense to be at the beach.
    I just can’t imagine that tourists aren’t dropping like flies in these conditions.
    You’ve done such a great job learning how to eat and cook in the heat. I’m now in the mode of figuring this out. I’m seeing a lot of cantaloupe in my future and I’m aggravated that I can’t walk to my local roadside verdura. The only one close to me is a permanent shop and a total rip-off. I won’t shop there unless I’m desperate.

  7. Joanne Qualey

    Fabulous dinner tonight! And the tomatoes are looking great. Ours are doing well now too. We’ll have an overload in September😁 but better late than never, right?

  8. Nina Lentini

    I wonder why the Italians call arugula rocket when arugula is such a natural Italian word. Do you know?

    Where are you going on your cruise, Nancy?

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