Category: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:45 pm —

I saw women clutching their babies to their breasts as they tried to shield them from the deadly blast of arctic air.  I saw strong men dressed in multiple layers, hats pulled down over their ears wincing and bowing their heads in the face of the gale.  Elderly Italians shuffled with grim determination through what might prove to be their last winter storm.

Yes, a dangerous blast of cold air struck Tuscany today.  It was 65 F.  18 C.  A little breezy.

Seriously.  People.  Come on.  Cowboy up a little, huh?

We come out of the Carrefour loaded down with groceries and it’s about 6:00 pm, give or take.  Getting dark.  A little breeze kicking up.  Nice.  Pleasant.  I was wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt.  The wife likewise. The boy’s in shorts and a tee.  The girl’s in a skirt and a tee.  None of us wearing a jacket or sweater.

We looked like crazy people.  We looked like we were endangering the children.  People stared at us in horror.  They made the sign of the cross.  Had we not hurried along I’m convinced someone would have called the Italian version of child protective services.  (The Carabambini?  The Miseragazzi?)  Because everyone — everyone, all, 100%, the totality of visible humanity — was dressed in layers, many with hats, some with fur collars clutched to their throats.  Fur!  

They cringed!  They cringed and grimaced in the face of what was maybe a 10 mph breeze and mid-60’s F temperatures.  

We looked like Vikings.  Crazy-ass, American Vikings indifferent to cold and quite possibly drunk.  Even the kids.  

Three winters in Portland, Maine.  Five winters in Chicago.  And three winters in Minneapolis.  

I remember once in Minneapolis trying to get a jump start for the car.  It was minus 30 F.  That’s -34 C.  I’m not talking wind chill, I’m talking absolute temperature.  Now that was cold.  In Minneapolis anything above freezing is kinda nice, and it isn’t considered cold until you hit the point where losing a button on your coat can threaten your survival.  In Minneapolis summer begins promptly on July 1st and ends the next day. That’s cold.

Now Italians up north, up in the Alps, they must be a bit hardier.  But Tuscans?  Hah!  They couldn’t survive a stroll through a Houston shopping mall, let alone Minneapolis in January.  

Ah hah hah ha!  Gaze upon the thin cotton fabric of my Eddie Bauer t-shirt and despair!

Horaayy..there are 7 comment(s) for me so far ;)


Love this post. I am normally a pretty “cold” person, but I went to the shopping center the other day with a short-sleeve shirt on and noticed I was the only odd gal out. Everyone else had on hats and layers, thick jackets. It was probably 70 degrees.

It isn’t just Tuscany… it is in Calabria, too!!

Cherrye at My Bella Vita wrote on October 28, 2008 - 4:49 am

We used to laugh so hard at all the ladies in their fur coats taking a November passagiata by the sea in Rapallo. It could be a sunny day and 55 F, but everyone was bundled up, as in your neck of the woods. Then we thought maybe they just wanted to show off the fur coats. Now that we’ve been here a few years we’re just as bundled as the rest. The blood thins, perhaps. And the humidity and the wind - very dangerous. The famous colpa d’aria - it can kill you when you’re not looking!

Fern Driscoll wrote on October 29, 2008 - 5:30 pm

This is hilarious! My kids are still refusing to wear a coat (or jacket) to school and we run the gauntlet of accusing stares every morning. I’m waiting for the child protection league to bang on the door at any moment!

amanda@A Tuscan View… wrote on November 4, 2008 - 4:32 pm

This is my first time visiting your blog and I am laughing out loud! You should have seen the winter clothes people were wearing here in May for goodness sake! I can’t tell you how many times I heard ’summer doesn’t officially start until June 15′ even when we were having 70 degree + weather. I have started layering my 1 1/2 year old when I take him to the piazza for fear of nasty comments from the old ladies! they scare me that much….(and they are that crazy!)

karen wrote on November 7, 2008 - 9:57 am

I shipped a car to Europe believe it or not, to Antwerp and drove it to Italy and not long after, sold it. If you try to get quotes from Antwerp you will save a butt load of money. Mine went from port of Los Angeles to Antwerp in less than 28 days. If you would like more info, write me. I think you will love California after living too close to Pont-a-shit.

Snow White wrote on November 10, 2008 - 9:57 am

Same here in Rome. I live down the street from a nursery school and I saw the most adorable set of 4 year old twins heading over there with other day with their dad. Twins were wearing matching down snowsuits, scarves, ski hats and boots. Dad - t-shirt, thin leather jacket, jeans. The temperature: 18 celcius.

Anyway glad to have found your blog - but so sad to see that you’re already leaving us.

kataroma wrote on March 1, 2009 - 11:28 am

These posts bring back memories of a trip to Viareggio last October.We were amazed at what some people were wearing in the 20+Csunny weather.Some really did look ready for a winter day in Siberia.
We spent many hours sipping coffee and people watching and developed a sort of”Spot the most overdressed”competition.I forget all the likely winners,but this scene especially sticks in my mind.A family by the waterfront man and boy in down jackets,woman and girl in knee length down coats,all zipped to the neck.All wearing hats and gloves.The air was quite still but suddenly a sea breeze sprang up.Within seconds the woman was attending to the children,putting their hoods up over their hats and wrapping scarves around their necks.Then she put up her own hood and they walked on.It was 21C.Beat that if you can!
Cheers Neil

Neil wrote on April 6, 2009 - 4:32 am
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