In the Company of Communists

The TrattoriaWe had spent a satisfying morning sight seeing in Florence.  Crossing the Arno river we stopped in a nearly empty local trattoria to have some lunch.  We were seated at a table for four and began to peruse the menu.  Suddenly the floodgates were opened and every working stiff within a five mile radius descended on this tiny restaurant.  The wait staff hustled everyone to seats, took our orders and to our delight seated a lone diner at our table.  He was compact and sprightly with iron grey hair, a pointed goatee and a dazzling smile.  In no time we were engaged in conversation, albeit halting and aided with napkin drawings.  He was a sculptor, and worked in a studio a few blocks away.  He deffinitely looked the part!  He told us that he comes to this restaurant every Friday for lunch because they have the best fish.  I wished I had known that before I ordered!   It being an election year in Italy the conversation made it’s way to politics.  Let me just say that I am completely baffled by Italian politics. I have enough problems with American politics, let alone adding some 30 opposing parties to the mix!  Our new friend proudly declared that he was a communist.  “I have been a communist for forty years, and I will never change.  In Florence there are many communists, and they will never change either.  In other places people change, but never in Florence!”  All this was said with the firmest of convictions and brightest of smiles.  When I asked if he planned to vote in the upcoming election, he shook his head, chuckled and looked at me as an indulgent parent would look at a naive child.  “No, of course not.  I never vote! In forty years, I have never voted!”   These are the moments that keep me coming back to Italy.  Never have I met a more charming communist.


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