How to Survive the Mediterranean Summer:
- Do not move.
- When you get too bored of not moving, put on your lightest clothes and venture outside your un-air-conditioned apartment in search of gelato
- Copy your roommates’ movements as much as you can. Take the bus with them to a crazy outdoor dance parade outside the city. Leave early to take a cold shower.
- Stay under the portico’s shade at all times.
- Accept that gelato and sorbetto will be your main food groups for the foreseeable future.
- Leave the city. However, do not take a train as they often lack air conditioning (Italians don’t do air conditioning).
I have been working with two middle school girls on English conversation and Milena’s mom asked me to help her with a bit of translating. She works for Museo Marconi and in the interest of encouraging her daughters to speak (or at least hear) English, she drove us all out to Marconi’s countryside villa for the day on Wednesday.
Guglielmo Marconi invented wireless transmissions, and it is in the 17th c Villa Griffone, a few miles outside Bologna, that he conducted his first successful experiment.
The plaque under the window on the top floor of the right side of the house indicates where Marconi’s lab was. Called the “silkworm room” teenage Marconi set up his transmitter in this attic space and sent the signal to a hill two kilometers away.
When I first arrived at the museum, Milena’s mom, Barbara, led me on a tour through the Villa. After that I translated the museum’s new brochure from Italian to English. I really loved spending my day at the Villa not only because the walls were thick enough to keep out the heat, but because I felt like I got a taste of an authentic Italian workplace. The day was relaxed, informal, and social, though I still got plenty of work done. We picked up apricots from roadside sellers on the way to the Villa, ate lunch all together at a long table (and visited the espresso machine afterward), and the Villa began to shut down around 4PM.
As always, food is the best part about any day in Italy and yesterday was no different. We had fresh apricots, cherries, and peaches as snacks. and for lunch Barbara ordered pasta from a kitchen nearby. I had traditional Gramigna pasta served Bolognese style with a sausage and tomato sauce.
At one point during the day, an ancient farmer who cares for the Villa’s fields came into the office with a bucket full of more juicy cherries, freshly plucked from the trees. Obviously, they were delicious. We left the Villa mid-afternoon and stopped for gelato on the way back into Bologna. After that, I returned to my apartment and resumed languishing in the city heat.