We easily parked on the main street and walked back up through the town looking for places that were still open past 7:00pm. There was a little market, a tobacco shop, a pharmacy. One more cafe with a few people smoking outside the entrance. The church doors were still open. I stepped inside to see what the inside looked like. It was dark but I could make out spiraling frescoes on the ceiling. The wooden pews looked lonely.
We crossed the street and a little bridge over a stream that cut through town. The architect had created a fountain on the stairs just by redirecting the flow of water. A pub sat on the other side of the water. We commented that we’d grab a beer on the way back. A woman had passed us as we walked by the bar, and we ended up at the same door a minute later – the only open place on that side of town – a little grocery with a full deli and bakery.
As the woman entered she was welcomed in with shouts of Ciao Anna! from the woman behind the counter. We were given a quick hello as well, but she rounded the counter for Anna and kissed her on both cheeks and started the normal conversation of “how are you’s?” a little bot burst out of the back room through the curtain and clung onto her legs. We started looking at our options for dinner. Fresh handmade tortellini, an array of cold cuts to choose from. A whole wall of dry and canned groceries from pastas to breads to jarred sauces just in case. The owner of the store had gone back around the counter and started with Anna’s order, but soon a baby was crying in the back and (I’m just going to assume at this point) grandma came out holding the most adorable blue-eyed infant I’ve seen and placed her in the customer’s arms (much to Anna’s enjoyment – and obviously it wasn’t the first time) and came over to help us with an enormous smile. Cheeses and desserts, mustards and jams were spread out below the glass counter. We chose the tortellini and a fresh parmesan for a cacio & pepe back at the house, plus some of the famous local cheese and sausage for the morning.
At one point before we made it to the cash register, the baby was in the arms of the little boy and the store had turned into a neighborhood block party and I was in love with it all.