Casa Torchia
Somewhere about 100 years ago, My great grandfather had a house built. It was big enough for his whole family. They split it off into apartments so every one of his kids could have one. My grandfather, the one that left for America, gave his up to... who knows. Time passes, and in 2001 when I was looking for a place to stay, I wrote to my cousin Adriana who said "of course you can stay here, this is the Casa Torchia" So we did. It was not as nice as some of the other cousins' houses, but it was clean and pleasant. Her apartment was on the Primo Piano (2nd floor) and had a balcony on either side. which was wonderful for ventilation. This year when we went to visit Adriana did not offer us a place to stay because she was not going to be home. That didn't stop us from going first to see that house, the Casa Torchia, first thing when we got to the Town of Sersale. (It's a whole block from the Piazza) To my dismay, there was a big sign in the window "VENDESI" which means for sale. I was pretty upset and asked the first cousin I could about it, "that's not Adriana's apartamento, it's the next one over. That's cousin Antonietta, she wants to sell her apartamento." "REALLY," we asked? "How much is she selling it for?" sit down folks: She said "It's a nice apartment, it has 2 bedrooms, a living room , dining room and bathroom. She's asking 10,000 euros for it " I have written the correct number of zeros. I was stunned. My husband said "you should buy it" I am incredulous and fascinated at the same time. I can barely make a transaction in a supermarket and now we're going to buy a house? I wrote down the phone number and mulled over it. Could they really only want 10,000 euro for it? (how could that be?!) The next day I was visiting another cousin, and she said "oh, there's a MUCH better apartment next door to me for only 15,000 euro." Well, that did it for me. These were the real prices. I didn't go see it, I don't know how smart it is to buy an apartmento that will stay empty for 51 weeks out of any year, but the IDEA of owning property in Sersale, the very home that my grandfather lived in as a child. It is tantalizing.
New York Pizza
We were coming to the end of our stay. We were heading towards Lamezia Terme where we planned on checking into our reserved hotel for the evening, but it was late for lunch, we'd missed the golden hour again (12-1) and we were starving when lo and behold, we saw an OPEN pizzeria. Poor Donald had been hunting for a place that sells pizza by the slice because neither of us are big eaters and we tend to not finish those whole pizzas they sell in the south. Eventually he just was hunting for something that was OPEN. And we saw it. A Pizzeria called "Nocera" in the Marina of Nocera, owned by Giovanni and Pasquale Mercurio. WE stopped. "Open ALL day". (that should have put up a red flag for us, but we were hungry and even a red flag was starting to look good) The restaurateur, a rather obese man by the standards of Italy walked up to us and said "English?" and by that one word, I KNEW. THIS guy was from the NY-NJ area, where I was born. Turns out he spent 17 years in NJ and went to Montclair State College before returning to Italy. It was great. The last day we were here and the first person we'd been around who was fluent in English. It was almost like a high school reunion. He told us that he didn't make those little Italian pizzas, he made NY pizza. . We looked at him alarmed, and told him that we couldn't eat a big one. He said, "Fine, for you I make a little one!" We were still a little concerned, but as the brucciettas came out we forgot about any misgivings we had had. Then came the pizza. Omigoodness. It was GIGANTIC even by New York standards. It was an inch thick of Cheese and wonderful wild mushrooms! It tasted very good but I could only eat 2 pieces. Donald ate 2 bigger pieces. that left 2/3 of this pizza and we were leaving at 5am the next morning on an airplane. Pasquale came back in a little bit (forgive me, I can't remember if he's Pasquale or Giovanni) and asked us with a rapturous look on his face how we liked his wonderful Pizza. We told him it was great but we were mourning the fact that there was no way we could eat it. He said "No problem, I'll give you a box!" so we drove around the rest of the day with our car reeking of pizza. New York Pizza.

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