Posted by: Debra Kolkka | March 18, 2020

A supermarket visit

Today I went down the mountain for the first time since the lockdown to shop at the nearest supermarket. We are not to leave our Comune, or district, to shop. Fortunately the supermarket at Gallicano is excellent.

Armed with my document to show why I was leaving home I headed off. The drive from Casa Debbio is beautiful. I can’t resist stopping along the way to admire my favourite view.


I was pleasantly surprised to find the supermarket very well organised. There was no waiting to get in, the shelves were fully stocked and everyone was keeping a good distance from each other.

The staff were gently reminding people to use the plastic gloves provided to select items and not to crowd the aisles. I was able to buy everything I needed to allow me to stay at home for at least the next 10 days. I was even able to buy a few plants for my garden.

I am particularly upset that plant nurseries are closed. I went past my favourite one today and it is fully stocked with gorgeous things for spring planting. I felt very sorry for the owners, whom I have come to know quite well. I hope things return to normal soon so all that their beautiful stock can find a home.

I cooked ricotta gnocchi and made a sauce from mini Roma tomatoes for lunch.

The trees around me are just beginning to get their leaves. I can actually see it from my terrace. It will all happen quickly now. Within a few weeks it will be glorious.

In the afternoons my neighbour, Sisto, whose house is below mine, plays music. He has 100 speakers under the eaves of his house and around 5.30pm if the mood takes him he plays tango, or old Italian records. It is quite magical. I wish he did it every day.

Here is a post I wrote about him some time ago. Sisto, the music man of Vergemoli

If you go to my Instagram (Debra Kolkka) you can hear a snippet of what he was playing yesterday.

Lockdown continues…


  1. Good to see you can get provisions, Debra

    • The only shops open are food shops, pharmacies and a few other things deemed essential. At least we have that. Hi

      • Indeed. We’re all going to be down to essentials soon

  2. Stay healthy Debra – keep the posts coming I love reading them and keeping abreast of Bagna di Lucca where I spent a a most memorable time in summer of 2016.
    Jan (Byron Hinterland)

    • It is a difficult time for many, but I can’t complain.

  3. What a good picture you paint with your words and your photos Deb. The trees and the views are as always, so beautiful. Glad your supermarket was calm and organised and liked how you say the staff were gentle. Yes love the music 🎶 wafting from the neighbours.
    Stay safe. Talk soon.

    • I was a bit worried about what I would find, but it was all well organised.

  4. You’re in a perfectly beautiful place to sit out this extraordinary time that is connecting us across the globe. Mysterious, magical times. We’re all in this together. Enjoy the serenity.

    • I am very lucky to experience lockdown here on the mountain. It could be much worse.

  5. So pleased to hear Sisto is still playing his music. We were only talking about him the other day. We waited every day for his music to start when we stayed at Casa Debbio. It just added to the beautiful ambience of the place.
    Good to hear also, that your supermarket visit was so pleasant, because it is still crazy here at home!!!! Enjoy your beautiful home and stay healthy.

    • Sisto is in his 80s. I hope he is around for a long time. It would not be Vergemoli without him.

  6. Great to get a bird’s eye view of what’s going on over there. Cheers.

    • It is an interesting time. It doesn’t feel quite real.

  7. It is disgusting how people are selfishly panic buying in Australia with no thought for others. ME! ME! ME! There arw even bus loads of people coming into regional areas and cleaning out the shelves. One Bakery had all their bread bought in one swoop ny these people!

    • I wonder what will happen to all this stored food. It is really silly and very selfish. I can’t believe the toilet paper hoarding it still going on.

  8. Write down your recipes in a little book Debra for the next tenants. Do you have a little sewing machine with you?

    • I have a sewing machine at the apartment. I could probably go down to get it but I have no fabric. At least I have the garden.

  9. Love your blog. Family originally from Bagni di Lucca. Last visit in 2015 not to return. I feel I’m there when I see your pics and dialogue. Please continue. I really enjoy. What a beautiful country. Not a good time for any of us.

    • This is a strange and difficult time. We will all be affected by this virus. Stay well!

  10. Makes me feel like I’m there Deb. Lunch looks yum! And the views 😍. Enjoy

    • The view changes daily. It is never boring. I am happy it is spring…such a pretty time to be here.

  11. Deb We Love reading of your supermarket visit, and seeing the result of your shopping YUM. Also it must be delightful to have such an interesting neighbour Sisto. We hope everything will soon return to good health and beautiful living.💖

    • We are very lucky to have Sisto. His music fills the valley.

  12. The supermarket looks great! Stay well.

    • It is an excellent supermarket with special areas for local produce.

  13. Deb I am so enjoying your blogs depicting lock down in Italy. Your garden is inspirational and must be a joy to work in during this time. Your supermarket experience was so different to the empty shelves we are experiencing here while people are so greedy and not considering others. Hope I can do my planned trip next year instead of now.Meanwhile my friends and I are enjoying your lovely blogs.Stay well

    • Thank you! I don’t know how I will feel in a few weeks, but right now I am enjoying my garden, cooking, reading and watching Netflix. I am in the best place I think.

  14. Nakubali

  15. My wife and I are staying home & we live in Indiana. All the stores are closed and the supermarket shelves are quite empty. They have set aside a time for seniors to shop. Everyone else has to wait till later. Love your photos. As a retired photojournalist I feel the pictures tell a story of where and how you live. I work for the county government and our building is locked for now. People have to call or send me emails to complete claims. My grandparents are from a little north of Venice and I stayed with a friend in Milan for a couple of weeks many years ago. I wish you well and keep up the journal. John Guglielmi

    • Australian supermarkets have also set aside times for seniors. It is an excellent idea.
      Our supermarket is fine, but I hear that there are queues in some areas.
      I am keeping a record of my isolation as much for myself as anything. These are strange times. I love being in my house and garden, but it s quite a different feeling knowing I can’t leave except for special reasons.
      I have just heard that our lockdown is probably going to be extended part the suggested date of April 3rd. I am not surprised.
      Stay safe!

  16. So good to hear your words of wisdom Debra. Many here are freaking out a bit as what is to come. Yes, you are lucky to be in such a beautiful place around you. Stay well and keep sharing your experience.

    • I think it is about to ge worse in your country. I wish you the best. Stay home and stay well.

    • Our area is not badly affected and I hope it stays that way. The north is still the worst affected area.

  17. I really enjoyed this post too; especially the supermarket. It didn’t reflect the chaos, panic or reality. Everything looked so fresh, abundant and hopeful. I’m glad you were able to stock up (did you buy or make the gnocchi) with assurance of sustenance for the next 10 days. Today, actually the 20th, has been nearly 18 degrees, with an expected minus 10 by tomorrow morning….this, in itself, is scary too! But a serendipitous event happened today; despite being warm, the sky darkened and a downpour lasted for about 5 minutes. After, I noticed the front windows of the house, which have been filthy from neighbouring construction, appeared clear and bathed. We completed the washing on the inside; dried and cleaned the outside too as they open in for this purpose. A divine gift, I cared to think of. And you have plenty to care for you too; indeed these are very strange times and we are careful how we navigate them, so keeping busy, reaching out and sharing what you are doing, have and enjoy is not only beneficial to me/us but to you too. Onward.

    • I make the gnocchi. It is easy to make and delicious. We need to keep busy and not become overwhelmed by the constant bad news.

  18. Glad to see that You are doing well and that Leclerc at Gallicano looks great and well stocked.. it has always been my favorite in the area.

    • It is a very good supermarket. I am lucky it is my local as we are not allowed to go out of our comune.

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