For most Italians, the weekend lasts a single day, Sunday.
Kids get a one-day break from school.
Stores are closed (except the cafes and bakeries).
Families go to church and then meet relatives for Sunday lunch, the biggest meal of the week.
There is an elegance and energy on the streets. It feels like a holiday. In fact, a common greeting in Italy is “Buona Domenica!” (Happy Sunday).
By 11:00 this morning, Corso Vanucci was full of people. Many stop by Sandri, one of the oldest cafes in Perugia, to buy pastries for dessert. In Italian bakeries, trays of sweets are wrapped in paper and tied with ribbons. (I love seeing people carrying presents down the street.)
Residents from the outskirts come into the city to take walks and meet friends in the piazzas. Some go to church. As usual, Italians know how to look good, even when they are all bundled up.
Because no one has to work today, meals are a little more extravagant and take longer to prepare. A traditional Sunday lunch may includes lasagna or another pasta al forno (oven baked pasta). Because Ray was especially interested, I asked around and found a couple recipes. Most of them require a ton of ingredients and take all afternoon to prepare, so we try to make enough to serve on Monday too. One of our favorites is made with sausage meatballs, béchamel sauce, tomato sauce, hard boiled eggs, breadcrumbs, herbs, fresh penne, parmesan and provalone.
While the four of us often spend Sunday visiting cities outside Perugia, the boys prefer to stay here where the pace is less dependent on train schedules and restaurant reservations. There are times when I agree. Cold winter days like today remind me how easy it would be to settle into the comfortable Italian pleasures of relaxing at home with the family while cooking lots of good food.