Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

When you enter the Agribar di Brolio you are sent back to the past. If you close your eyes, the memories will come to mind.

We used to go to the local “club” when we were kids. The ACLI and the ARCI were identical. The only thing that changed was the location of the crucifux. At the ACLI it was on the wall. At the ARCI it was locked away in some drawer.

These were the town bars. Friends played billiards and grandpas played cards (briscola or 21). When there were 5 players, they played “Tre sette”!

There was joyous confusion among the youth who laughed at the elderly who argued for hours about the card game. Cursing was rampant!

We are in the heart of Tuscany, where the priest joined the others at cards and made believe he didn’t hear the blasphemy. Our don Giuliano yelled “evil donkey”, his way of cursing bad luck without invoking the saints.

For snack, we ate bread rubbed with tomatoes or with wine and sugar or a delicious ice cream. If you weren’t hungry, you had an ice pop. I ate ice cream sandwiches, because they were more filling.

There wasn’t much to buy at the bar. Cold cuts on bread, three or four drinks, and wine. When the barman’s wife was in the mood, there was pie or apple cake. We watched TV at the bar. I don’t know how, but there was always the “Giro d’Italia” and the Parigi-Rubè (no one knew how to write French well!).

We listened to music, played “Peppa”, fell in love (usually one-sided and not long lasting); the old, the young and the little hung out together.

We fought and made up. We talked and listened with patience. We laughed hysterically, often without reason. Marvelous! There was a telephone, but nobody would look at it in public. The bar man went around town yelling, “Hurry up…your cousin is going to call in 10 minutes!”.

You were sure that someone had died. In my town, you didn’t call to say hello. We went out and we met. That was it. This is what I see today at the Agribar. It isn’t wonderful because it is nostalgic.

It is wonderful because I can see the young and old who I described. They are here. And the most beautiful thing is that they are the same as before.

In a world where we think that nothing is like before, here we can see that that isn’t true. We have different clothing but inside we are the same from generation to generation. We just have to slow down and look!

Cristina Capitini

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