Understanding them italians – it’s all in the hands

Locating a particular out-of-the-way restaurant in Italy (or anywhere for that matter) can be a tricky thing, especially if you’re trying to find it at night in unfamiliar surroundings. This has happened to us on more than one occasion when eventually, my husband will admit to defeat and ask for directions, as it happened on this occasion.

We were in the center town of Acquanegra sul Chiese at nearly 8:30 in the evening. No one was in sight except for two matronly women dressed in heavy coats, taking an evening stroll in the cool night air. My husband stops the car alongside them and asks in standard italian if they might know where Ponte sull’Oglio would be. The two look at each other and speak in their native dialect – something of which I probably will never fully understand – and shrug before turning to face us. He then tells them that we are looking for the restaurant on the bridge, and at that very instant, the scenario came to life as one woman leans into my window and excitedly says, “AH!, el ponte d’andà a da mangià?!!” (The bridge where you go to eat!). She gives us a knowing smile, as if to say you will eat very well there, then proceeds to make this hand gesture that expressed the very same thought. Her hand was positioned almost perpendicular to her bosom, and as the drawing shows, she made a to and fro motion.

I cannot say enough on how delighted they were to help us out, even pointing to an area where we could turn the car around and head in the proper direction. And as they both waved goodbye, I thought to myself, “This is what I like so much about rural Italy. Some folk may come off as unfriendly at first, some may be downright welcoming from the start, but whenever you mention food and eating, it is a subject so passionate amongst these people, that I don’t see how I could ever not want to live here.”

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