Anne's Blog

No Coronavirus in Assisi….

Date: March 2, 2020 - categories: , , , , , , , - 22 Comments

….but a sure remedy for coronavirus ansia (anxiety) is to drop in for lunch at Peppa’s.

She’ll greet you warmly with a beaming smile and probably an apology, “Scusa, ma non ho molto pronto per pranzo oggi” (“Sorry but I don’t have much for lunch today”).

When we were there recently for lunch, that was her apology to Pino as she indicated the pasta pot of boiling water on the gas stove in her kitchen.

And then she drained the pasta, the start of a usual “Peppa feast”:

A tempting pasta sauce – made with Peppa’s tomatoes and bits of sausage, chicken – was simmering on an adjacent burner:

Peppa was all bundled up, for there’s no heat in her house except for the eating area where a wood stove chugs in the corner near the tablecloth-covered dining table.

Steam wafted up from the spaghetti as Peppa dished up our portions deftly, using just a pair of forks……

She’d already sprinkled a generous amount of freshly-grated parmigiano on the pasta:

… and then decided we each needed a bit more:

While the pasta was boiling on the kitchen stove, Peppa had sent Pino off to the dining room wood stove to check the bread she’d been toasting for bruschetta. (Sautéed turnip greens and potatoes were on the woodstove, too, warming over a pot of hot water):

Pino rubbed each toasted bread slice with a garlic clove….

…..and sprinkled salt on each:

He then drizzled the slices with Peppa’s olive oil (pressed just two months prior):

Not all of Peppa’s olives had been pressed for oil at the local mill: she’d set aside a couple kilos to season with bits of orange peel, diced garlic and wild fennel seeds after curing them for a couple weeks in a salt brine.

A bowl of olives sat on the table next to the olive oil flask – buonissime:

We chatted over our pasta….

…..and Peppa reminded me to fare la scarpetta (“make the little slipper”) – soaking up the last of the pasta sauce with bread – so that my plate would be cleaned for the sautéed turnip greens:

Peppa meticulously cleaned her own sauce with bread, swooping artfully around her last forkful of pasta sauce meats – a true “fare-la-scarpetta” expert:

As we enjoyed those turnip greens from her garden, Peppa asked us questions about coronavirus, expressing her own concerns:

From evening news, Peppa’s well aware of precautions to take and is grateful she’s living in the Umbria hills, with less chance of contagion (hopefully).

Her immediate concern? She asked us as she served us her torta, the Umbrian flatbread, “Per poter fare sempre la scorta, dovrei fare una scorta di farina?” (“So that I can always make torta, should I stock up on flour?”

We assured her that there’s no quarantine in Umbria and our alimentari (grocery stores) are well-stocked.

May life go on tranquilly in our Umbria, “Italy’s green heart.”

…..and mille grazie for Peppa, our “coronavirus-anxiety antidote.”

Read many more notes here about Peppa and all our wonderful rural neighbors


  • Pam Butler says:

    I have very fond memories of meeting Peppa in 2016. She made me feel right at home. The lunch meal photos look delicious and makes me miss Italy.
    Peppa’s hospitality is just one example of the generosity of the Umbrian Italian’s
    I am so happy that there is no Coronavirus in Assisi.
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post.
    Pam Butler

  • Pam,
    Thanks so much for your note and come visit again: we’d love to have yo with us here…and I bet Peppa would be delighted to see you again, too!

  • Cara says:

    Feels like I’m right there with you in Peppa’s home! Would love to be in the peaceful greens hills again! Such beauty…within the people and the place!

  • Diane Eagleson says:

    So glad you both are healthy and enjoying your neighbors and pasta! Wish we were there…..

  • Cara, we would love to have you back here with us so…..plan a trip! La nostra porta e’ sempre aperta!

  • Diane, wish you and Kevin were here with us, too!
    Such wonderful memories of our time together…

  • Jenny Hannan says:

    Feel the goodness and warmth from here. So glad that you are avoiding the anxiety!

  • Michelle Toohey says:

    Oh, to have lunch with Peppa! She can definitely ward off any malady. All I need is one of her olives!

  • Thanks, Jen, for your note – and eager to have you again with us soon in Umbria! Vieni presto, per favore

  • David Fleming says:

    Oh , to be in Umbria far from the maddening crowd! What a rich description of Peppa’s lunch preparations; the photos tell their own story: And I’m sure the day was peppered with Pino and Peppa arguing about different aspects of the preparations: Those in themselves are reason to visit !!

  • Sandi Spector says:

    I just love that she apologized that there wasn’t much food. Your Photos not only capture the feeling but you can almost taste the olive oil… If only!!
    I love Pino’s white hair. The Coronavirus is in panic mode here, if you go to Costco for toilet paper anyway.

  • Janet Eidem says:

    Trusting that the virus will not interfere with our travel plans in October.
    Corona, corona hear what I say.
    Take your leave and stay away!!!

  • Sandi, for Peppa, there is never enough!
    And she doesn’t understand “basta!” when you try to let her know that she should not fill your plate again..

  • Janet, so glad you are coming in October….and wishing you…already…happy trails!

  • Flem, your note made me grin! Will have to tell Peppe about it / she’ll love it!

  • Cara, we’d love to have you here in our home once again: start planning!

  • Michelle, Peppa’s olives of this year finished.
    (che peccato!)

  • Louise Lockwood says:

    oh how we wish we could join you for such a special lunch (despite Peppa thinking it was not much). We’d be thrilled with such a special meal and such wonderful company too. XO

  • Louise,
    Hope we can do a dinner with Peppa when you all come in December!

  • Corina says:

    Mi viene la fame 🙂

    Hope Peppa and Pino will cook the same for us when we visit next time 🙂

  • Corina,
    I hope so, too!
    Return soon to visit us, per favore.

  • Bev Oliveri says:

    I am forwarding this to Kathy! My mouth is watering—I love pasta and Peppas looks so delicious!

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Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)