Does it ever snow in Umbria?

Yes, Virginia, there is a possibility you’ll see snow for the holidays. Italy is fairly temperate, so it most likely won’t. But even the rare winter storm can have a shiny silver lining. In fact, some of my favorite memories were formed during winters in Panicale, years ago, when we lost power. We heated with our lovely wood burning stove, we have gas for cooking so we were still able to entertain by candle light. We relished the muffled silence on every side of us as we walked to the dimly glowing Masolino’s restaurant street. They were one of the few places that had a generator. Another time I remember pulling on boots and crunching our way thru the knee deep snow of an un-plowed road to a friend’s house on the edge of town. We popped prosecco corks and admired the most fanciful, tallest, gilded chocolate cake I’ve ever had the pleasure to see in person. Our friend had made it on commission for a fancy party which had been cancelled because all the roads were impassable. In the flickering candle light we marveled at the cake, then without further regard for its artistic merit, we sliced it, enjoyed it and toasted our friendships and congratulated ourselves on being stuck in such a fine place at such a fine time. Salute!

See you in Italy,

Stew Vreeland

P.S. And if you do get to Italy and find yourself stuck in a snow storm, tune your ears for this expression because it will be being bandied about. You watch. Someone will push in through the door, stomp the snow off their boots and start to grouse about the weather only to be met with a smile and a shrug and a philosophical “Sotto le neve c’e pane.” Which is a very short way of saying Remember, that under the snow is bread. Meaning snow brings moisture which will help to grow the wheat that is going to feed us, so lets all be all zen about the snow already! In fairness, as Pollyanna as that sounds, the second half of the rhyme is “sotto l’aqua, c’e fame.” Meaning, yes, but too much water, ie: flood, means we’ll all go hungry, too. So, smiley face followed by frown face. My sense has been that Italians may all know the second half of the rhyme but I’ve rarely heard it used.

One Response to “Does it ever snow in Umbria?”

  1. Sandie

    Miss you guys. When are you going? Need to catch up. Lets be in touch.
    Sandie

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