Christian is kind and is so hospitable that one visit to his restaurant and you will walk away having made a friend.  We met him 10 years ago in his bistrot which is set within the walls of the small Umbria town. His warm and welcoming nature invites you in but his talent as a chef brings you back again and again. We’ve had so many outstanding dishes and desserts prepared lovingly by Christian and just as many pleasant conversations with him. Bringing many friends with us over the years and they all concur. The little bistrot tucked away in the most unassuming spot attends to your soul and your appetite. We like him, our kids like him, our friends like him. He’s just a really likeable guy. 

Until recently, he worked in a tiny kitchen only big enough for one person and his bistrot sat only a few guests. But his hardwork and talent paid off and he was able to make improvements to his much-loved restaurant. Seeing pictures of him celebrating the redesign amongst family and friends, Christian beamed with happiness for the future. We celebrated with him from afar knowing that our trip to Citta della Pieve in May would have us at the restaurant very soon.

However, Christian is now like many of us as he is in the middle of a lockdown, awaiting news that will relieve the difficulty of the crisis. He is safe and healthy but of course concerned for the well-being of people near and dear to him. His grand re-opening will have to wait until tourism can safely begin again. For now, he has traded his chef’s hat for the hat of a nursery school teacher as he spends each day with his little girl. He looks forward to the future while enjoying the gift of life, a day at a time.

We recently sat down over a video conferencing website to chat with Christian and hear how he and his country is enduring this hardship…

Tell us about yourself (who you are, your family, your profession) 

Ciao! I’m Christian Palazzi, a chef in my own tiny Bistrot del Duca Restaurant. I am happily married to a wonderful woman, Eugenia Natalino, who patiently handles me and inspires me everyday. My wife has a family plant nursery business and we have a little daughter named Lavinia, who came to join us cheerfully only 15 months ago.

What does a typical day look like under normal circumstances?

Usually we are very busy working, since we both own our own companies. We wake up around 7am, have breakfast together, take care of Lavinia and prepare her for her nursery. Then we both leave for our business. According to our daily work schedule, one of us will pick Lavinia up at 4:30 pm.  If it is me, I stay home with her until 6pm when my wife returns and I go back to work. If it is Eugenia, she will take Lavinia to the plant nursery until closing time. 

Tell us what your typical day is like now?

The nurseries are open so Eugenia goes to work while I stay home with my daughter, playing games, listening to music, reading books. I spend the time with her since I cannot do this on normal days. I study a bit overnight, but without cooking anything new so far, since I am into cleaning my mind a bit so that on the reopening I will not be stressed but willing to start again as if I will open anew.

How are you staying connected with people in your life during this?

Apart from my wife and daughter, I video call my parents every day and write or call my brother who lives in Zurich. I call my friends and relatives every couple of days.  

Do you have someone in your family or community that you are personally concerned for their health?

My auntie and cousin in Milan were sick but recovered and are back home. My uncle and other cousin in Milan are still under oxygen masks in a hospital there. I am concerned for everybody I know, of course.

How are you dealing with your fears and concerns?

It is not easy for us not to be together, outside, not enjoying even a bit of this spring. But it is a little we can do in order to prevent our National Health Service from collapsing. We take it as a duty better than what our relatives did years ago going to war. We can do this, but only together.

Please continue to pray and remember our Italian friends and family during this time. Italy will rise strong and is still the country we love dearly.