I can at least say I was productive today. I didn’t really leave the apartment, but I made serious progress on my presentation on Villa d’Este for Tuesday – hey, it’s only 20% of my grade, no sweat. Presenting in the field, you say? Oh, well that changes things. Yes indeed, I have to present on Tuesday on (and at) Villa d’Este – totally awesome, and also extremely challenging. The whole site is steeply terraced and there is no good single-vantage point (one of the basic elements of the design, thank you Pirro Ligorio for not anticipating this assignment!) and with all of the beautiful fountains, the ambient noise level is pretty intense – especially for people like me who have learning disabilities which interfere with our ability to process sound in a noisy situation. Fortunately I’m the one presenting, right? Anyway, I’m thinking that I’ll stage my presentation in three parts: open in the courtyard, move through through the house to the garden and stop at the Rometta, then make a bee line for the Porta Romana. Sounds good, right? Right?!
Deep breath. I’ll be fine.
Oh the Fiat? Right, seen on my single venture from the apartment to Valzani for some chocolate fortification. Valzani, whose sign is just legible on the upper left section of wall, is a local dolceria (sweet shop), specializing in Roman treats (cannoli, cakes, etc.) and has been family-owned since it opened in 1925. Located on the corner of an unnamed serpentine alley and the Piazza di S. Apollonia, I walk past the shop every single day on my way to wherever and, especially in the mornings, right before 9h00, you can always smell the freshly baked cakes and cannoli as they come out of the oven. Oh man. Inside, there is a sweet old woman, one of the original daughters, who works the cash register and makes the best dark chocolate hazelnut bark I have ever had in my life – and she swears it’s gluten free. I love this woman.