Lavender on Lungaretta

4 Aug

On Via della Lungaretta, heading towards Santa Maria in Trastevere, there is a man who sells little sachets of dried lavender. He has a cardboard box full of dried lavender and next to it he has all the little sachets he has prepared, dried lavender wrapped in a bundle of obnoxiously colored tulle.

No, I’ve never talked about my ongoing love affair with lavender on this blog, because frankly there was never any reason. But the time has come, my friends!

Now that I’m at just about two weeks away from D-DAY, that is, departure day for my beloved state of Washington for a year, I’m getting this ridiculous urge to try to cram in all the things I’ve wanted to do but never did in these past seven years. Not touristy stuff. Just stuff, in general.

Take for example, Mr. Lavender Man. I walk down Via della Lungaretta ALL THE TIME. And I’ve seen him there for months now, in the evenings when the crowds start to build. He mixes up all the dried seeds in his cardboard box and you can smell the perfume for yards before you arrive at his little makeshift table-top store, and for long after you’ve walked by.

Every once in a while he says to the passersby, “Lavanda!” Small groups of girls on vacation together, “Lavanda, ragazze?”

Usually people just walk by. Last night a small group of girls walked by and I was behind them (as I bravely carried my diary, my cherished latest copy of The New Yorker, and the new book I’m reading, heading for a gorgeously indulgent evening by myself on a quest to dive into a beer and Chinese food at my favorite Chinese restaurant, eaten religiously with chopsticks, but, as always, I DIGRESS). After they passed the table, they turned their heads as the lavender scent wafted around their heads. I knew it had gotten them.

You know what it’s like when you walk by a bakery and smell freshly baked bread? Or when you walk by an ice cream shop where they make waffle cones and the sugary perfume drifts out onto the street? Or the smell of cotton candy? Or the smell of fried donuts? (OMG Krispy Kreme, I really hope you might possibly exist in Washington like you did in Arizona, if so, I’m on my way, wait for me!!!)

I’ve always thought that the Internet has one rather large defect. It’s not scratch and smell.

Because folks, if it were, I’m sure I could entice you to come back to my blog again and again by stirring up the lavender seeds I finally broke down and bought from the man last night on my way to my cena cinese.

“Quattro sachetti, cinque euro.” Four sachets for five euro. God knows if it’s a rip off or not, I’m at the point where I don’t care anymore. I needed a hit. (Have I also never talked of my irrational love of L’Occitane? And have I not also mentioned that mere hours from the house we have rented in WA, there is a disproportionately large outlet center where there is none other than a L’Occitane OUTLET? Just try to HOLD. ME. BACK.)

So here you go. It’s quite a humble little display, and if I could, I would grant you the superhuman power to scrach and smell, but I can’t so I’ll give you this:

Dear Mr. Lavender Man, thank you for gracing my neighorhood street with a tiny corner of what I imagine it must smell like in Provence. Although it is Rome and that’s probably better, every once in a while we need a little bit of a Calgon-take-me-away moment, no?


12 Responses to “Lavender on Lungaretta”

  1. romerican August 4, 2008 at 7:42 am #

    Ohhhhh Occitane! The profumeria on Via della Lungaretta (near the infamous puppazzaro) used to sell Occitane products, the prices were seriously marked up of course. Enjoy the outlet!!!

  2. Mr. Diego August 4, 2008 at 8:13 am #

    Noooo, ma come lasci Roma? Come mai torni negli USA?

    Ehi congratulazioni per il bimbo.
    Io ne aspetto un altro a novembre 😉

    Tienimi aggiornato!


  3. My Mélange August 4, 2008 at 12:21 pm #

    Lavender is one of my favs!!!! I stuff little sachets in my pillowcases and I have a big pillow stuffed with it on my bed. Can’t get enough!! And I would be living at that L’Occitane outlet if I were you 😉

  4. nyc/caribbean ragazza August 4, 2008 at 1:33 pm #

    I love L’Occitane as well. I would die at an outlet!! ha

    There is a store in Milan and I noticed some Beauty Points here are selling it like the one near Pz. del Popolo.

  5. julie August 4, 2008 at 2:17 pm #

    Ci, Krispy Kreme is alive and well in Washington…

  6. steffan August 4, 2008 at 3:16 pm #

    There is a Krispy Kreme in Issaquah, at the very least.

  7. Italianissima August 4, 2008 at 3:21 pm #

    Yes, Provence does smell like lavander…I visited there in 2001 and upon returning home immediately planted 2 lavander bushes by my front door. They blossomed so well that I was able to clip my own lavander flowers and dry them out to make sachets which I then promptly distributed around my house and to my friends as presents. You should plant some in your new home as well.
    As for L’Occitaine….an outlet!!! I think you may have found a little slice of heaven on earth!!! You will have to blog about it when you start your new Italian blog! ciao, ciao!

  8. Rose in Cali August 4, 2008 at 4:06 pm #

    I love lavender, too! Have you ever tried a lavender-filled eye mask? Now that is relaxing. My friend just got back from Pelindaba Lavender Farm on San Juan Island in WA. Maybe you can take a field trip there when you get homesick for Mr. Lavender Man?

  9. Hande August 5, 2008 at 10:18 am #

    Please do tell us which Chinese that would be!!!!! Am desperately looking for one!

  10. Angelatini August 5, 2008 at 4:51 pm #

    You will be happy to note that there are SEVERAL Krispy Kremes in Washington. There is one on 125th/Aurora in North Seattle, one on 1st downtown and others in Issaquah, Puyallup and Tacoma.

    What you really need to try is Top Pot Doughnuts. They blow KK out of the WATER. They have 3 Seattle locations.

    Go here:

    Also…there is a place called Cupcake Royale that makes LAVENDAR frosted cupcakes. Check them out, too. They were voted one of the 10 best cupcakes in the country! 🙂


  11. erin :: the olive notes August 5, 2008 at 7:29 pm #

    I LOVE LOVE Lavender too…all our households soaps and anything else I can get is always lavender. Take me away to Provence…

  12. stefanaccio December 28, 2008 at 11:31 pm #

    was following your blog but has not been updated for a while. my compliments!!

    Valle San Giovanni

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