17. Vercelli part due

Virginia has traveled in the states, studied in the states, plans to get her doctorate in the states (evolution of US presidential inauguration speechifying/speechification or something along those lines), and wants to raise her children in the states. Massimo also speaks excellent English, has travelled to America and is completely on board with this plan. When they settle down in Knoxville they will, of course, maintain and promote the mother country’s language, cuisine, and expressive hand gestures while at home.

 Virginia is a real sweetheart, and she makes a great cup of Italian Coffee (molto forte, a mi gusto) and a fine tuna tortellini (though she is just as likely to whip out a winning macaroni and cheese, Philly style) but please tell me you’re not using processed, Kraft American slices, Ginny! If that’s the case this America thing has gone too far.

 Let’s look around the apartment. Even an American electric coffee pot- good thing ’cause it’s real hard to find cool appliances and coffee stuff here in Northern Italy.

If I needed a break from the Americana, I could just pop out on the veranda, watch life along the tree-lined street, share a little gossip with Sra. Molinari next balcony, and do something really Italian like air out my shirt.

Now let’s take a walk around charming Vercelli.

Basilica di Sant’Andrea: completed in 1227.

   It was an early gothic monastery church

What a treasure chest of grand old buildings is Italy, even in the lesser known towns.

 Many walls had been plastered over in this town, to prevent the crumbling of old masonry.

My old friend Pappagallo Papapicco would’ve never forgiven us if we didn’t stop by. (Careful with your double-consonants in Italian.)

This building was remodeled on the inside and serves as offices of the department of justice.

You can still find functioning phone booths in Italy. Here I argue with cousin Domenico. The phones function too.


Swap the Peugeot with a Porsche, the Fiat with a Ferrari and this becomes the parking spot on the the plaza of my Piedmont palace. (Cheap illiteration permitted once per blog)

 1849 was the year of the Battle of Novara, a terrible defeat for the Piedmontese against the Austrians in the First Italian War of Independence- I’m just guessing that’s what she’s bummed about.

Time for lunch. The Order of the Knights of Saint John, Hospitallers was created to aid, feed and shelter poor travelers on their sacred pilgrimages to Lourdes, Santiago, Rome and Jerusalem. The Royal Order of Industrious Turks was created to provide fast food to globe-trotting cheapskates. 

Pizza, Sprite, Keenan, Angkor Wat.


This local lager washed the pizza down nicely, plus the shiny label.


At these prices ya gotta go for two.

What Keenan is doing is seen as TABOO around here. (Transfer of Artichokes, Black Olives and Onions, unauthorized)

Back on the street to continue our tour.  Mind the midday break while in Italy, France, Switzerland, etc. and on Sunday you may not shop but you can scream and shout for la Juve!


 These cute Chinese kids monopolized the swings. Jeans and T-shirt for mom, but she’s keepin’ hip with the YSL.

The reverse-mullet is especially popular in Italy. Two specimens  passing another, sporting an also popular, but in this case more restrained than usual, arm tat.

here working on my best cunning trickster look: 

Before heading back to Virgina and Massimo’s for our second and final night here, K said he was still hungry so we found this place, rustic with vaulted, brick ceilings and good deals on spaghetti and salad. This was the appetizer and my paleo-diet is still on hold while I go for a hunk of this wheat-bomb.

K. considering strategy.


Well, thank you Virginia and Massimo for a great stay in Vercelli! Good luck in the good ol’ US of A and we’ll be watching for you on TV at the ‘Bama-Auburn game!


Next: How not to “do” Milan.