One of the best things about living in Italy, besides the evident gelato, art and lifestyle options are those “We’re not in Kansas, anymore Toto” moments.  Let me explain.

Italy isn’t so drastically different than what we are accustomed to from the mother-land, which also happens to be that other land that the Italians so adore, pulling much of our pop culture, economic and business influences.  We have here, among other things – CSI Miami (and New York!), Burger King and  dry cleaners. Although the three 1/2 gallon tubs of JIF that my mom-in-law so believed was essential to our survival,  kindly packed in her luggage 8 months ago and are still sitting in the pantry, we can buy peanut butter.   And despite the immense volume of unique palazzos with histories of feuding papal families that incited backstabbing and famous affairs alike, all those tempura and terra-cotta colored buildings start taking on a daily norm, and you just don’t see them anymore.   Some days feel much the same as if we were back in Sea-town.  We use ATMs.  We go to the hardware store.  We go to the gym (though the gym deserves its own post – I’ll add it to the list).  We buy food to consume.

However, every now and again, some serendipitous visual wake-up call reminds me that in fact – this is a special place.  A funny, charming, beautiful,  and sometimes bureaucratic or customer-service lacking place.  Its the type of place that either confirms or debunks the stereo-types that the tomato, basil and mozarella eating populace embodies in a single moment, and those moments are truly special.   I am sure I look like a damned fool, smiling with a cheese-eating grin at what for Italians is the norm, but  I just can’t help myself when something hits me square between the eyeballs.  BANG! now THAT’s Italian!!!!.  Take this for instance: the mental snapshot of the hubby throwing the plastic/glass recycle into the back of a garbage truck about a fifth of the size of the ones in the states, saluting the same lady with acquamarine eyeshadow  that he meets down the street every Tuesday morning, precisely between the hours of 8:00 and 8:30 am.  That is special.  It screams “This is kind of familiar, but soooooooo Italian.” And I need to take a picture outside of my own noggin of it.

So this is the inspiration of Foto Friday – to put up just one that might capture the essence of this place in the relentlessly-Starbucksizing (nope, they aren’t here folks – though oddly, low cut tank tops with the logo are all the rage with the ragazze) globe.   Everyone has seen someone in front of the Trevi fountain tossing their coins to the Roman government in hopes to come back , but I ask, have you ever seen the banality of daily life at the supermarket captured with joy?   Now, its the Italians who put the I in TGIF.

For the debut photo, I present: “At the ATM”, taken in Piazza Di Spagna while pulling out my ever-falling in value Euros, when I turn around to see an advertisement, with the unlikely pair of legs from a  carridge outside the bank vestibule.  Either the human needs a pedicure or the horse is happy with his online banking service. You decide.