Inspired to imagine

Italy is one of those dreams that keeps disappearing in the morning, leaving only longing and feeling of melancholy. It had been planned many times, tickets bought then cancelled, trips organized and postponed, and then I was gone from that part of the world. It happened by accident one year – strained for a day in Milan on my way from Tunisia to Macedonia. Not bad to be strained in Milan out of all places, ah? I spent all my free hours on my feet, soaking the city as much as I could, strolling through the streets like Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, located near the Piazza del Duomo city square, with the most famous designer brands from Prada and Gucci to Armani and Valentino. Tons of photos taken, blended into masses of other tourists doing the same. I sat to rest, drinking one of the most expensive double espressos I had ever had. Despite this blitz visit, Italy remained a country I want to dedicate my time to, from Florence to Sicily. One day, who knows…

I couldn’t imagine this day without baking something special. It was a way to dream longer. I searched for a treat I have never made before, and my attention kept returning to sfogliatelle. They seemed like one of those desserts that you can make only with love. Their origin, having been created in the monastery of Santa Rosa in Salerno, Italy, in the 17th century, reminded me of Portuguese Pastel de Nata which were also invented in the monastery in Belém. As it happens in life with serendipity, a week or so before my “Italian day”, I saw them made on one of the TV cooking shows, so I had the first row view. I made sfogliatelle over two days, enjoying every step of the way. I photo-documented the process, for those who are really curious.

Homemade crackers were the beginning of the dinner with Limoncello I bought at the Italian Cultural Centre. We moved to mushroom risotto with ossobuco and red wine, finishing with delicious sfogliatelle.

Inhaling Four Seasons

Imagination that takes us places,
when surrounded by four walls.

Ache that tormented the star-crossed lovers,
rests in my heart,
thinking about red roses.

The mystery of a man under the carnival mask
who will offer his hand, asking for a dance
along the Venice canals in February.
Heels tapping with the sounds of Vivaldi’s “first season.”
Can any instrument weep more heart-breakingly
than a violin?

Leonardo playing with pigments
to catch the light and depth
of three dimensions,
thinking about flying,
writing from right to left,
to grab the ideas floating in his mind too quickly,
sketching, modelling, constructing…

In various rooms and halls,
thousands of replicas
of the everlasting smile.