wanted: italian tapparelle stateside

When in Italy a few weeks ago, I took note of some of my favorite Italian things that, for some reason, have not become popular culture on this side of the ocean.


I sleep the best when in Italy. I owe it to the efficient tapparelle that cover the windows (they go up and down either by pulling on a cord manually or pushing an up and down switch electronically which, from experience, is a celebratory way to start a day) and make a room pitch black. At home, blinds and curtains – even black outs – don’t keep the sun out and I wake early, particularly during summer. Italians transplanted here or on vacation will complain of rooms that are too light and how they are prevented from a good night sleep.  I am convinced, like the bidettapparelle is an item searched for stateside, but I have yet to see one dressing a house window. For a country that invented the personal computer and put a man on the moon, my neighborhood’s decorative, can’t-shut shutters on windows blasted with the hot California sun are an embarrassment.


I was as excited to see an Autogrill off the autostrada again as the Duomo in Florence. Seriously.  I almost cried. It’s a consistently quality restaurant off the autostrada (or highway) that will serve you a fresh, delicious prosciutto crudo and rucola panino and one of the best espressos in all Italy. While we have Subway for fresh sandwiches, this all-in-one, easy-exit-off-the-autostrada restaurant & store has also been our go-to place for replacing lost sunglasses or picking up the latest newspaper.

Latte Vending Machines

This trip is the first time I stumbled upon a vending machine for fresh milk. I found one just outside the train station in Desenzano on Lago di Garda. Stepping out of the train, my kids plugged their noses and I smelled what I thought were cows. My guess was right. The milk, we were told by a local, comes from the cows in the area. We have 24 hour convenience and grocery stores but I’d choose the fresh, local latte vending machine any time.

Finally, the machine used at the Italkmark grocery store deli to cut meats like prosciutto crudo is different than here, and I continue to wonder if it’s operator error or the machine that cuts of prosciutto just plain wrong, even in the fanciest American grocery store.  There’s nothing worse than walking out with fifteen dollars worth of too thickly sliced proscuitto crudo. But I’ll save that for another day.


8 responses to “wanted: italian tapparelle stateside

  1. I have seen something like the pictured tapparelle! On a house near ours and right by the park you were at the other day. Sadly, while the Italians use these to get a healthy night’s sleep, I think the covering I saw was on garage windows for safety : (

  2. We had the window coverings in Luxembourg, I believe they were called vollettes there. They were great for making the room dark for baby! On the east coast there are road stops similiar to the auto grills but lacking the espresso. Welcome back!

  3. Mmmmmm. LOVE the thinly sliced meats, or embutidos, here too. Y sí, ¡las persianas y los bidets! The blinds are great for keeping out the sun, especially during those yearly summer heatwaves from Africa here in Andalucía. I do keep them open at night, though, because I love a fresh breeze from our balcony. But it’s great having the option of rolling them down after a night out on the town, because the last thing you want is to wake up with the sun in your face within the next few hours. And I’m not even going to get into the benefits of having a bidet. Why don’t we have these in the States??

    • persianas in spain? I love hearing the different names they are given. And, yes, the bidet….I thought Italy was the only country left using them in modern day – (I havent seen them in france or germany) . They definitely make this list but I won’t go there also!!

  4. so funny that you found the “tapparelle” so weird.. to me, when I lived in United States, it was crazy not having something like our “tapparelle” to keep light outside..”tapparelle” or “scuri” is a must in Italian houses.. very interesting your article because you underlined elements so common to us that we never put attention on them

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