Sharp Monica

An honest voice in Italian paradise.

Firenze: Caccia Uova/Egg Hunt at the Museo Stibbert

I am barely on Facebook these days, instead preparing my inner revolutionary by rereading all the Owell we covered in junior high in Oklahoma. (To think of it!) But by chance I spied an event as I quickly scrolled through my newsfeed on Thursday morning. After mentioning it to Jason, I called the number on my Italian handset (which represents less than 1% of my phone usage here) and spoke with a woman who has a lovely Aussie twang to get us all signed up for the Egg Hunt at the Museo Stibbert.

Frederick’s trellis.

Victor had been before, because he is quickly becoming an urbane man-about-town here in Firenze, personally visiting many museums and civic attractions with his preschool class on gite (field trips). None of the rest of us had been yet, though, and Vic talked it up a great deal. The bizarre post-colonial-threshold museum houses rooms of lovingly restored full body armour, shark teeth, shrunken heads, and the like. Miraculously, we all piled into the car with our various accoutrements at a good hour. Vic is now big enough to regularly carry a backpack without too much complaining, so Eleanor’s diaper bag is now contained in one of his. We provisioned a picnic lunch, having split the list with our local friends Court and Tommy, who were also attending with their kids, who are the same ages and Vic and Eleanor.

The event host was International Babysitters (I’ll plug them since they put on a lovely event). We walked up the hill past the Villa Fabbricata to the Museo Stibbert. Kids got their wristbands, we paid the nominal fee, and walked through the gardens to the lawn where the egg hunt was to be held.

Anubis will now receive you.

The park is gorgeous, whimsical, musty with old money, follies tucked into many corners: a shabby terracotta statuette of Minerva here, an Egyptian temple to Anubis there. Paths and trees and leaves glowing green – it looked like a movie set, perhaps for Pan’s Labyrinth, due to its faintly menacing air, the sun shining weakly through the leaves in thin ribbons.

Mini font of Arethusa.

New tree, old wall.

New tree, old wall #2.

Aslan’s stair

Italian pines

19th century glamour

Admiring terra cotta

Oh, Victor.

A number of families milled about on the lawn, and a lone assistant was supervising the art table for the kids. It was quite a mix of Italians and various anglophones. The eggs had all already been hidden, and here was where the cultural clash began. We could see their gold foil and bright plastic winking in and out of stump hollows and tufts of grass.

Cavorting on the path.

Cultural Friction #1

A few of the Italian kids started hunting the eggs immediately with their parents. A pair of British parents in particular got increasingly upset, and began to complain to the art helper. She became flustered and said that there was only one of her, and her hands were full with the ten kids who were busy making rather wet easter eggs out of paper and shaving cream and food coloring.

Brit parents became increasingly upset and began to argue with one another. The father in particular had to retire to go smoke a cigarette very, very fast. Some of the Italian parents noticed that this was not the way to do it, and began to chastise their children to return the eggs to their hiding places.

Eleanor suverys the boomers and sooners of the Italian egg hunt.

Cultural Friction #2

The egg hunt was to begin at 11, but again in a very Italian fashion, it was 11:15, and then 11:30, and no sign of an egg hunt. Parents tried to distract their kids with coloring and the shaving cream (boring) which was pointless next to a lawn of approximately 5,000 pieces of hidden chocolate.

Finally, the kind but harried art help announced it was time to hunt. She blew a whistle for everyone to listen. The anglo childen all listened. You can imagine what the Italian children were doing, and what their parents were doing. I thought the Brit family might have a fit. The helper have instructions in English and then Italian. “Uno, due …. TRE!” she blew loudly, and the kids scattered.

Dutifully listening to instructions.

Cultural friction #3 

The kids were not divided into groups, so the one year olds were attempting to locate eggs behind 5, 6, and 7 year old boys. I will let you picture it.

“Jason! Jason!” I yelled. I practically tossed Eleanor to him. “Take her to the other side of the field! Where we were with Victor!” Jason and Eleanor went in that general direction. Victor was already there, unloading the cache from a few hollows into his receptacle.

A small Italian girl, about 4, cried bitterly in the middle of the lawn while her mother yelled at her. She was clearly overwhelmed by the competitive nature of the whole affair. “Go sit down then!” her mother screamed at her. “If you can’t do it, just go sit down!” Fortunately I did see them later, having achieved a filial detante, and she was collecting a few eggs.

Yay we got some!

Culturally Amusing Point #4

Boy, they did not know how to hide those eggs. What did they expect would happen, if they put 20-30 eggs and pieces of chocolate in one place? Yes, an older boy is going to come by and take them all. Smh. I bet Barbara Sharp could have come and shown them a few tricks to hide the eggs in leafy branches and the like.

Victor obtained a respectable amount. Eleanor was jazzed to have gotten five pieces of foil-wrapped chocolate in her little bag. Victor gallantly gave Jason three of his eggs to re-hire for Eleanor behind a different tree. I distracted her, shooed away the hovering older boys, then showed her where to look.

Victor and Eleanor both also ran the Egg Race, with a hardboiled egg balanced on a spoon. Vic must have run it six or eight times, consistently in the rutty lane so kept dropping his egg. He had a ball though. Eleanor ran it once, and immediately gave her egg to Victor for race recycling.

Fine. I’ll do it once.

Victor on race 4, 5, or 6.

Cultural High Point

The part where all the families spread their blankets on the lawns and had a 3-hour lunch after the egg hunt. This does not happen in the US. I think it should. That way, parents too can look forward to the egg hunt. Why make it just a kids’ affair? In Italy, everything is better with your family along for the ride.

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One Response

  1. Monica, Jason,i bambini sono bellissimi…Non scrivo mai, ma non per questo vi ho dimenticato. La vita è semplicemente una corsa contro il tempo che sembra non bastare mai.Un bacio a tutti voi, serafina

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