Stefi’s from Rimini, so after having done the usual touristy stuff in north-eastern Italy – Venice, Florence, and Bologna (where we now live) – we visited nearby San Marino and then the various hill-top towns, minor castles and so on within a short drive of her home.
One such was the Castle of Gradara, which I chiefly remember as being the place from which I purchased a rather weighty souvenir, un testo, which is basically a disc/disk (please don’t write in – I don’t care) made of cast iron for preparing ‘piadina’ on.
Piadina? It’s an unleavened bread characteristic of Romagna, very much like a wheat tortilla, usually made with ‘strutto’ (lard) and cooked, as I have said, on a ‘testo’.
This must have been in the days before low-cost airlines as I barely gave a thought to the fact my souvenir weighed as much a medium-sized child. It was just a casual purchase in an idle moment, a quaint item of old-style kitchenware, perfect for a kitchen in a medieval fortress.
So who’d have thought that we’d use it virtually every day since?
Ah, memories are made of this! My testo, souvenir of Gradara and of young love, has a permanent home on the gas hob in our kitchen and is the go-to for heating up the kids’ lunch (they can never get enough piadina…)
But anyway, Gradara, came up again in my research this morning regarding the characters in Canto V, specifically the famous lovers, Paolo and Francesca.
Never heard of them? I read somewhere that they were the model for Romeo and Juliet. Check out the town’s website for pictures of the doe-eyed pair and more on their story, which is short and predictably tragic.
Or read OUR Francesca’s (the writer/Italian teacher who does the Dante series) summary in today’s canto
And not to forget the usual reminder to listen to Tuesday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news.
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