My sisters and I LOVE Diet Coke. So when a cold and rainy day in Umbria turned into a bust with even the churches closed, we slogged our way to a brightly lit McDonald’s and reveled in ice-cold Diet Cokes. (Ask for lots of ghiaccio and enjoy the smirk the attendant behind the counter gives you. You can almost hear him thinking, “Crazy Americana wants ice in her drink.”)
In the hill towns of Umbria, it’s not OK to walk with your food. Take your time and sit with your Big Mac. If fast food ever catches on in Italy, they are going to need much bigger chairs and tables when people get fat on french fried and burgers. We perched on the tiny chairs and gulped down our Diet Cokes. We didn’t even have to translate the adorable bathroom doors that led to immaculate restrooms. You can tell McDonald’s has been designed to appeal to children but it felt like home to us on a rainy day.
Refueled, we headed to Valdichiana Outlet stores. Outlets are huge in Italy with several malls located close to town centers throughout the country.
It was strange to shop the Gap and Polo in Italy with a rush of Italian shoppers. From merchandise to lay-out, the experience was the same as in Florida. Where were the Fende, Prada, Versace, Missoni stores? Not here, but there are true factory stores for many of the brand names. Just Google Prada, for example, and you will discover a store called SPACE in Montevarchi. The website advised to arrive early, get a number, and wait for admission to the factory store.
We just weren’t that serious about shopping and headed home well before the stores closed. Luggage allowances sure cramp our style!