This is Italy and it always comes back to food and food rules.
This morning Paolo, my 30-something hairdresser, interrupted the drying process to ask his colleague, "What day is it today?" When she answered, "Thursday," he nodded, turned back on the hairdryer and made a mental note outloud to himself, "gnocchi today and fish tomorrow." I smiled and asked if he always had gnocchi on Thursdays. He thought for a moment and acknowledged that he foregoes the routine in the summertime (because of the heat and potential digestion problems), but for the rest of the year he faithfully has gnocchi on Thursdays, and fish on Fridays -- this is just the way things are.
This evening I stopped by Pina's shop -- the social center of Monte Verde Vecchio -- to pick up some bread. She had castagnaccio out for the first time and everyone in line was a buzz -- Fall and castagnaccio go together and we were all excited at the novità. Then a nicely-dressed woman popped her head in to change her order for tomorrow, "Pina, no mussels for tommorrow, just the clams -- if they are small and sweet." Ahhh yes, tomorrow is Friday and orders have been placed.
We may find Starbucks in the piazzas of the historic center as a sign of change in our coffee habits, but when will Italians stop eating gnocchi on Thursdays and fish on Fridays?