Summer is here. You might be saying that this post is a little late, that it’s been summer for awhile. Yes, that’s true. I read a blog post the other day written by an American lady who said that summer was winding down and I thought, what? It’s about to begin.
That’s because over the past few years of living on an Italian schedule I’ve come to think of real summertime as being the month of August since that is traditionally vacation month in Italy when people stop working and head to the sea, or the mountains, or their family home if they’ve moved away, etc.
Well, summer has been going on for awhile for me in one important way and that is…. summer fruit! I love fruit and I have been eating lots and lots of pesche (peaches), pesche noci (nectarines), albicoche (apricots), pesche percoche (a type of firmer, more consistent peach with light orange fuzzy skin), mirtilli (blueberries), more (blackberries, when they’re on sale), meloni (melons), angurie baby (sugar baby watermelons), prugne (plums) etc. So sweet and delicious, I’ve been in heaven.
Summer also means…. il mare (the sea). One of my favorite things to do in life is swim in the sea very early in the morning when the beach is deserted and the water is sparkling with early sunlight and everything seems more beautiful.
If you go to the sea you’ll (usually) need a bathing suit. Yes, women’s tops are optional in some places but I haven’t seen that in awhile. Unless you’re a child, of course:
I ripped out this advertisement from a store circular years ago and have been meaning to post it. Female babies and little girls in Italy don’t wear bathing suit tops, just the bottoms.
When I was fresh off the boat and went to an Italian beach I was surprised to see that, but when you think about it, there’s no need for them to wear them, their chests look exactly like little boys’.
I guess an American might be uncomfortable with that sight because they know the child is a female and so society says they must have their top covered, but in reality it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Italians are more relaxed about these things. Actually, a few Italian friends were very surprised to hear about American babies/young girls always wearing tops or one-piece suits. They couldn’t understand why it was necessary.
Another thing about Italian bathing suits – you won’t find an Italian beach without hundreds of these:
Men’s suits – 70% off. Hurry up and get your speedo while they last (it’s called lo slip or il bikini). Actually, am I the only American woman (or man) who likes them?!?!?
n.b: An Italian guy told me that he normally wears them but said when he goes to the United States he wears a long shorts bathing suit.
Going back to Italians’ schedule in August… yesterday I wanted to print something so I walked to the copy shop but it was closed. I walked a couple blocks farther to another one but that was closed too. I had forgotten that you can’t count on things being open in August.
But I think this is a good thing. It gives the shopkeepers some time off. Torino (and Italy) is full of small mom-and-pop type shops run by few people. Store owners need a vacation too. A small copy shop is not like a major chain, which can stay open around the clock because they have a large staff with rotating hours and because the population expects things to be available 24/7. Plus, Italian culture in general is more relaxed about these things and Italians know what to expect and plan ahead. I’m very happy to shop less in August and support small shops over large chains for a variety of reasons (see my post about it here).
During an eight-minute walk to the supermarket today I saw these signs on store windows indicating that they were closed for vacation. (See this post for more photos I took last year.)
Closed for vacation from August 8 to August 21. Reopening August 22 (This is a clothing store)
The store will reopen on August 23, 2016. Wishing everyone a good vacation! (Clothing store) – The sign below that says “Please ring the bell!”
Closed for vacation from August 8 to August 28, 2016 (Hearing aid store)
This store will be closed for vacation from August 2 to August 22, 2016 (Il macellaio, the butcher)
Closed for vacation from August 6 to August 21, 2016 (Il fruttivendolo, a small fruit and vegetable shop)
Closed for vacation, we will reopon on Monday August 29. Have a good vacation!!!! (A bar i.e a café)
Reopening on the day of September 5, 2016 (A merceria, a sewing supplies and underwear shop)
Enjoy the rest of summer everybody!