Civilized Living


Manhattan doesn’t lend itself to civilized living; it lends itself to survival techniques.
One of the things we miss most about Italy, is the very civilized aperitivo hour.  Before dinner, you stroll to a piazza and have a drink. It could be a glass of white wine, it could be a cocktail, but before you know it, other friends have gathered, there are some snacks to eat, and you have a pause in the day that brings connection, laughter and breathing space. One of the beautiful things about having a drink in Italy, is that it is always served with a snack, or snacks, or sometimes it seems like a full meal.  Beautiful crostini, olives, nuts, cheese, exquisite vol au vent.  So today’s question is: why don’t they do that in US bars? No snacks, not even a chip or a peanut.  OK, my US bar experience is limited to NY, Philadelphia and Snowbird, so maybe there are some cities that excel at bar food, I just haven’t found them. 
Piazzas are very civilized; they are the heart and soul of an Italian neighborhood. And if you miss the aperitivo hour, you can always go for a stroll after dinner, that’s called a passagiata, and it’s also a very civilized way to live.  Seems I’m having a very “Viva Italia” moment!


  1. Deco on February 28, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    Judy, I’m in trouble. I think we are all in trouble– all the Judiths and Judies. Last week someone took me for Judy Witt, the Diva, and today someone took me for you!
    In NY you can go to a noisy bar and get blotto at $7 a drink!

  2. Judith Greenwood on March 8, 2007 at 11:41 am

    When are you returning to Umbria? We are neighbors half the year! Should we not meet? Without snails?

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