Chapter 2 – Is Everything Better in Italian?

a glass of italian wine

Where and How I Found Myself There

It’s hard to explain this bond I had with my Italian lover for so many decades: the tall, lithe man of tawny brown hair and amber eyes, who resides in my heart and remains in my thoughts nearly every day, even now. The constancy of our connection: whether or not we saw each other often, or let months or even years intervene. It may be more understandable if you know that we met several decades ago, in Italy, when I was seven years old. I’m an American, and my family was spending a few months in Torino because my father had been sent to work in the company where his father worked.

I suppose it’s time I gave you a fuller picture of him. He was an only child of a scientist, like me. And he was older enough so he could have ignored me, but he didn’t; he was kind, and I felt his interest as genuine, not the forced attention of an older kid delegated to looking after a child. Maybe it would help to know his name? (Or maybe not?) Anyhow, his name was Lorenzo, a name that rolls lyrically off the tongue, yet contains an underlying strength. Even his nickname sounded compelling, commanding: “Renzo!” It always seemed to come with an exclamation mark.

My name is the very American-sounding Becky, not lyrical at all, and in fact most Italian people tend to think this is my last name, spelled Becchi. Unless you say the full name in Italian, gracefully rolling the initial “R”: Rebecca. Was that why I was first drawn to Italy, because my name sounds so romantic in Italian? Sometimes I think everything is sweeter in Italy.

Sweeter, yet more poignant. Even the wine. I remember my first taste, when we sat at Sunday lunch in an outdoor restaurant in Torino in the warm late-spring sun. The waiter came around with the wine, and when he got to us “children” at the end of the table, he reached over and poured a little of the silver foaminess into the bottom of two long-stemmed glasses. Carefully, I reached across my plate and grasped the stem, as I had seen the grownups do. Again following their lead, I brought the lip of the glass to my nose and inhaled the mysterious liquid.


Now, of course we know that it was Moscato d’Asti.


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