About two weeks ago, I moved to Siena to complete a project. Living in Tuscany as an American transplant from Napoli confuses me and nearly every Tuscan I encounter. The single strangest source of confusion, antipathy even, is my accent. I had never realized how forcefully I spoke Italian- truncating words and peppering nearly every request, observation and enquiry with hyperbolic exclamations. Even more troubling, I had never fully grasped the extent to which I mixed Neapolitan with Italian, particularly when shopping at open air markets, of which there seem to be few in these Tuscan parts.
On my first day wandering around the hilltop town I anxiously sought a decent espresso. I had been to Siena before but it was early in my tenure as a resident of Italy- at a time when my neophyte palate still struggled to ferret out the great from the merely good. Within roughly twenty minutes of my latest arrival in Siena, I swiftly deduced that coffee here is terrible. Burnt, flaccid with no character, no texture, no depth, no verve. The same could be said for the Sienese people on further reflection.