Bathrooms in private homes in Italy in general are immaculate, Why do many in public places look lost without their toilet seat? This questioned was left unanswered until one of our seats broke at our Villa in Tuscany and I had to find a suitable seat to attach to its porcelain base. My search led me to bathroom shops throughout Tuscany. Many looked ok until trying to match the boltholes. After two months of a search, hesitating to replace the entire unit, I began to understand the reason as I yanked out the remaining bolts and put the broken seat in my car to be sure to have it available for a match.
Questioning proprietors of public locations I learned that questioning cleanliness of the seat, people tend to stand on the seat, cracking it . This being the reason proprietors decide to eliminate the seat all together after various breakings on the same seat. It was hard for me to accept this answer, but realized after questioning many that gave me the same response that it may be true.
But my conclusion resulting from my search is that Italians in their innate ability to find beauty or create it along with their passion for sculpture channel all their frustrations for beauty even into the toilet seat, with little consideration for its replacement. In California when needing to replace a seat I had a choice of two or three which brought me immediately to a replacement. In Italy my search led me to hundreds of beautiful designs of curved, squared, oval, round seats of which none would match the bolts on my porcelain base. Being a private home I could not abandon my search as proprietors of public facilities may do, and join those that go seatless. Eventually not able to find a replacement I replaced the entire unit and decided to have all future replacements match the one I found which prove to be most practical, popular, functional and least attractive. It may have been designed by an amateur Italian scultore but it served well its purpose, Strangely enough it never has suffered a crack in the seat.
Two amazing chefs, Cyrus and Pervin Todiwals, teamed up with other chefs to cook for the Queen for her Jubilee. When first visiting us at Villa Lucia four years ago, we had no idea of their celebrity status. A great friendship developed. After many attempts to accept an invitation to meet them in one of their 4 restaurants, we finally were able to join them for Iranian and Zoroastrian New Years Feast on March 20th 2017 at their Café Spice Namaste Restaurant in London. What a feast. What an amazing couple. What an honor to be with them. If you like Indian food be sure to visit them. The Queen seeks out the very best.
Great week having fun, eating , drinking, shopping and visiting artisans in Tuscany.
Having had a bout with spoiled milk, I had to rush to the bathroom due to a case of food poisoning when out with friends for lunch. A cold sweat, vomiting with dry heaves, made me feel like the kitchen sink that had backed up for some reason that same morning.
The next day, feeling great, while reading on our upstairs patio, our plumber arrived. He yelled up to me and asked how I was since he heard I had experienced some problems. I yelled back, “fantastic”. He gestured to me questioning what was wrong. I then explained how someone left what appeared to be a fresh container of milk etc. etc, and I put it into the refrigerator thinking it had never been opened etc, etc, and continued to explain for 5 minutes how the milk spoiled etc, etc, and how the bacteria formed, etc, etc, and how that sent me to the bathroom, etc, etc.
I ascertained he was bored hearing about my bowel and vomiting experience, when I understood that Italian gesture with the quick movements with the back of his fingers under his chin, meaning, “I don’t give a dam,”
I ended my monologue when that gesture was followed by another when he put his fingers together with his thumbs on both hands to question me from below the patio which I understood to say,
“ma che dici…….? What the hell are you talking about? I came to fix the kitchen sink.
My husband and I have always enjoyed electric beds. One week recently when our house was rented and we cared not to disturb our guests so secretly retired to our room during the day to read as we usually do with the upper and lower part of our electric beds in the V position. .That night just as we ventured into the kitchen for a snack after our renters went out to dinner, there were deafening bursts of thunder that followed streaks of lightning engulfed the house as if in the center of an explosive. Suddenly all the lights went out. We realized darkness everywhere, confirming that the deafening noise was caused by our village transformer being struck by lightning,
My husband waited wisely for the guests in our parking area with car lights on as I searched for candles to light the interior. The electricity was still out when they returned past midnight. They were happy to see us home being that they thought we were out of town. When we retired to our rooms after bidding to all a good night, we realized that our beds had remained in the V position. All rooms were occupied. Needless to say, it was a sleepless night, relieved only when at 7 am we heard in the distance the city employees working on the transformer.
After a year of blogging fun memories in Villa Lucia’s kitchen in Tuscany I decided in 2015, to share bimonthly some of my personal experiences in the bathrooms of Italy. This will be followed by bringing our readers into the bedrooms of Villa Lucia to share experiences of our guests without using names.
Bathroom Toilets, Tissues and Lights
In the late 40’s I visited my grandparents in Italy who as great land owners were fortunate to be one of the few that had a bathroom indoors out of their country home. As a child I found it to be a strange looking but having little choice had to accept the wooden seat with arm rest whose function may have been to prevent one from falling into the hole that would send the waste with pumped in water out into the countryside somewhere. It was similar to the picture of the old fashion wooden throne seat. Missing from this photo is the pile on the ledge near the wooden throne of outdated daily newspapers that I later learned were to be used to clean oneself. Paper was still a rare commodity in the 40’s in Italy. Years later while traveling on a scholarship program to Italy in the 60’s my mother reassured me bathrooms would now be more available and modern. But then why did she fill every little corner of my suitcase with American toilet tissue?
I ascertained the answer when traveling when introduced to various types of tissues, none of which resembled that which I was accustomed to in the States. There was the slippery wax paper type, the thick hard to fold cardboard- like paper and the flimsy thin see through tissue requiring many folds so as not to create a finger-breakthrough. But nothing could compare with my memory of the abrasive, rough sand paper type. God forbid if not used gently for there would be no remedy for the resulting painful adult diaper rash.
Moving to Italy in the 80’s most public buildings were required to have bathroom facilities. The problem now was to locate them which often led one down steep staircases to restaurant basements, not suitable for the handicapped and often not well lite. After succeeding in the treasure hunt to relieve oneself there would be the problem of finding the light switch. Would it not be on the right wall? Well not always in Italy. For those more fortunate, electricity being so expensive in Europe, one may find that the light is operated by an electric eye. If you wait and are able to hold your bladder for a few seconds the light will eventually come on. Unfortunately it may also go off before one finishes their business but a few swings with one’s hands will signal your work is not done and the lights will go on again. The on and off neon glare is a polite suggestion not to linger and to save electricity. On the other hand, in America bathrooms are made so comfortable that one is encouraged to linger such as in this American red neck pot.
It was not a problem for me until moving to Tuscany in the 90’s when having to provide a urine sample for a doctor. Seeing the narrow one inch wide test tube that I was given to fill, I was wondering if I was mistaken to be a man or if it was some kind of joke. Nevertheless, not wanting to be difficult preceded to the rest room with the narrow vial to fill. Needless to say it was a very difficult ordeal but when the lights when off during my attempt it was not only impossible but also a messy situation in the unfamiliar dark room. My waving of my arms, begging for light spilled the vial which I had successfully half way filled and surely would be unable to refill. The glaring neon lights shining on me as if caught in a crime revealed the mess I had created in the dark. I felt as if candid camera had found me in the bathroom, frightening me to even use the facilities. While searching the stall for that hidden camera I noticed a small plastic cup on the ledge that was placed for me to use which would have been an easier way to fill then the 1 inch vial opening.
Traveling with my granddaughter Laila in 2014 I realized that Italy has come a long way from my days in the 40’s. We were surprised to be able to experience in Venice toilets made of 100% murano glass.
Time to give some attention to the men in the kitchen after devoting so much time to children and lady friends. There may be other ways for them to relax but seeing immediate results from one’s labor especially while working with others can be very rewarding, relaxing, productive and fun.
Not too sure if the colonel was having fun when mom tried to show him how she makes her Italian “ fingering licking” chicken. Shall never tell who won the debate but will tell you mom always made it her way. Hard to change an Italian mamma’s food culture.
Placido Domingo visiting mom in the kitchen after she made raviolis for him
Honored to be in the kitchen with Jacque Pepin, the internationally recognized french chef and tv personality in our younger days.
Don, wish you were still with us. Loved our time together in our kitchen
Don and Jorge sharing a hot pepper with grappa ready to put out the fire.
Eileen testing husband Dick’s cooking
Bill returns for more fun in our kitchen
John, Uncle Jorge and some good prosecco
My favorite sous chef and robocoop.
Men’s cooking class with Dino’s homemade prosciutto and Carlos’s cheese
Memories with Hutch (David Soul) in our outside kitchen
Mark, our first Whats Cooking Bistro’s bus boy in the 70’s, now cooking in 2014 in our farm kitchen.
Lawyers can find relaxation in the kitchen while having fun.
Now that is some organic vegetable!! He grew it and now has to cook it
That is what we call eggplant parmigiano
Singing to the prosciutto ????
Shirley, it doesn’t look the same,
Sergio says the kitchen can be relaxing for a film producer
Stu Naham may have left us but with great memories together in our kitchen never to be forgotten
Two crazy italians decided to save the clean up for later
Our boys in the kitchen with grandma. Chef Jorge with our 2 sons, Jorge and Jason, 2 grandsons, Dante and Luca and 3 nephews , John, Joe and Jackson.