Chocolate and Vanilla

Sitting outside in the light green metal chairs, the dark night sky is a blanket over the city. Piazza del Popolo is bustling with locals, and loud, live music is playing from the stage at the center. The arcades are lit to guide people to the bars, to the gelato shops.

I tell my dad how I read that Ernest Hemmingway used to sit at this very café and sip on Ascoli Piceno’s traditional anisette liquor with coffee beans. He tells me he remembers serving that drink when he was a bartender, and he steps inside to get one for himself. The bartenders explain to him that they always use three beans because it’s the magic number, and they hand him a lighter to light the alcohol himself in order to infuse it with the coffee flavor.

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As he is sinking the shot, I feel a cold liquid on my hand and realize that my gelato has begun to melt. Quickly licking up the sticky mess, I glance over at my sister and notice that she is covered in ice cream as well. She is the chocolate to my vanilla.

Having my family visit me in Ascoli makes this place feel like home. In a city full of strangers, it feels nice to finally have a piece of Rhode Island with me. Even the smallest memories outside at Caffé Meletti with some of my favorite people easily makes it one of the best places in the city.

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