Or, at least I will be in a few days.

Peppe’s best bud is getting married this weekend in a little ole town near Naples called Benevento. And, we are making the trip!

We have no choice, ya see…WE are the testimone, or the witnesses, or for lack of an even better term – the Maid of Honor and Best Man.

Uh, ok.

But, what does that mean for an Italian wedding?

I asked Peppe this question a few months ago when I realized that, I, too, was graced with this honor.

“Nothing to worry about, Cicina….” he stresses. “It just means we sit at the same table as them for dinner!”

Really? That’s it?

Well, luckily for me, we crashed a wedding a few weeks back that was held during our normally scheduled Mass. Peppe pointed out the testimone.

They WEREN’T just sitting there!

Of course, If I’d have known I needed to take notes, I’d have sat at the front (although those seats were all marked off with ribbons and flowers, but that is neither here nor there). The point is – the testimone were walking around, doing things, listening to, and more importantly for me – understanding the priest!

I’m in trouble!

To add to the dancing butterflies in my stomach about my undeterminable duties, I ask myself,(as the groom-to-be has asked me once a month for the last six months) “What will I wear?”

I had decided on an elegant and never-been-worn black dress from my closet…I just needed the perfect pair of shoes. I’m in Italy – that should be easy, right?


So, in my everything-happens-at-the-last-minute-and-I’m-cool-with-it-that-way bravado, I head downtown.

And, what to my wondering eyes should appear?
But, a beautiful dress and….

A SCONTI sign and a PROMOZIONE banner!!

I peer into the window…cute dresses, DECENT prices…I WILL GO IN!

Once they understand I am a buyer, they pull every wearable (or, maybe NOT so wearable) dress off the rack and display it lovingly on the counter for me to see. No, No, No..oh Dio No…uh, maybe!

So, I settle on sexy, slinky, lavender and deep gray dress. I try it on.


I peek my head around the corner of the dressing room door, “Do you have one a little bit bigger?”

I motion to my hips and buttocks area. “This ain’t pretty!” I want to say. But, instead I muster, “Non mi piace, questa” as I make a general sweep with my arms to display the area that I don’t piace.

Now, I can’t really quote ya here, because I don’t know exactly HOW she said this. But, the meaning was clear. “They don’t COME any BIGGER!”

GULP! (Embarassed me)

So, they hand me another dress. Size? XL

“This is the same size,” they tell me, “only the fabric is more flowing…” or some kind of similiar bullshit! (As you can see, I don’t like being told the biggest dress in the store is too tight on my fat arse!)

So, I take the XL, and, to my relief, it is too big. I show them all the places it is too big, while the man tells me it looks perfect, and the woman finds the same dress in a smaller size.

Now, I don’t normally like to go around telling the world wide web my dress size, but I need to prove a point (if only to myself)!

In America






And, It’s not just me! It seems other Americans can’t wear Italian clothes! Even when they are pregant!

In the end, I settled on that pretty, flowing, yellow dress. Only, I am still a newbie and I wear with (apparent) pride my RIP ME OFF CAUSE I AIN’T ITALIAN stamp, and well, I didn’t get the sconti. But, they did alter it for me to perfection.

So, I am ready to go.

Dress? Got it!

Shoes? Got ’em!

Handbag? Working on it!

Duties? Boh!

23 Responses
  1. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    I’m glad you found a dress. Well at least you don’t live in Los Angeles, where a 6 is considered “full figured”. At a size 8 I’m considered obese. haha

  2. KC

    Shopping here really can do a number of your self esteem if you’re any bigger than a 4!

    Our testimoni sat on a couple of stools on either side of us at our wedding. I guess it made it easier for them to get to the altar to sign the big book.

    Ragazza, I’m obese too (also an 8)! That’s what my doctor told me. Personally, I’m not buying it.

  3. sognatrice

    Well I’m happy that you found something; I did see some nice sale signs the last time I was in CZ (haven’t told you about *that* adventure yet), so we’ll have to get to those before the sconti disappear–you know, assuming they’d give us them anyway.

  4. Cherrye

    NYC – I don’t think I would survive more than a week in weight-obsessed LA! I had heard that “seriously” full-figured models are a size 8…sad sad sad…

    KC – Did your doctor really tell you that? Really? What is wrong with these people? The thing is, I know a bunch of Italian woman bigger than me (who I don’t consider fat). What are their doctors telling them?? And – more importantly – where are these women shopping?

    Sognatice – sounds like a (good) story. You can always count on us city folk for something good!! Yes – we need to shop while they can still pretend to give us the discount. Which, is what happened when we went back to pick up the dress. I insisted that Peppe ask them if that dress was a new arrival and why I didn’t get the discount. Know what they said?? “Oh, yea – we gave her the discount. She knows that!!”


    Calabrisella – You don’t seem very vasto in your website pics!!! But -really, can you help us out? Where should we be looking for pants??

  5. Delina

    I gave up shopping here a long time ago. It’s too much for me when the assistants start bringing out all their stock to show you. I suppose when you’ve got a wedding to go to you just have to get something new though.

    Hope you sorted the handbag.
    Enjoy the wedding!

  6. nikinpos

    I hope you left room in that dress for the 20 course meal that most Neopolitan weddings serve up!
    Got any spare time for a trip to the coast while you’re up in these parts?

  7. Giulia

    OH WOW, you guys are going to Benevento? That is so close to me! As a matter of fact, it’s closer to where I live than from it’s distance from Naples.
    I can’t beleive you had such a hard time purchasing a dress being a size 6! Good grief, am I in trouble as I aint no six. I have a wedding to go to next Saturday and then another one on the 18th of August. There is NO WAY I am going to shop for two dresses. I think I would need a good therapy session after that!

  8. Cherrye

    Delina – I don’t like that, either when they start pulling everything out and you have to tell them yes or no. I MUCH prefer to browse shop, take things to the fitting room if I want to, purchase IF I want…

    Nikki – I SO WISH we had time for a side trip. I was hoping we would, as I went to the coast last April, and have been wanting to go back with Peppe. 🙁 This trip is literally in tonight, wedding tomorrow, leave Mon. morning.

    Oh, and yes – there is lots of extra room around the middle of the dress!! ha ha

    Giula – I HATE being so close to you and not getting to meet up! We are just going to have to plan another Expat weekend! Oh yea, and I have another wedding next month, too. I am totally going with the bruta figura thing, cause – I am wearing the same one! Luckily the only person who will be at both weddings is Peppe! 🙂

  9. Ambra Celeste

    Oh Cherrye! If you are having a hard time shopping here in Italy and you are a size six, no wonder I have had no luck! I have a very sad shopping story that I try not to dwell on that involves me in my very first year here, the freezing cold winter, and no possibility of a winter coat for me. sigh. Now that I am pregnant, my mom is sending prenatal care packages from the US with love! I am so happy for these. Your dress sounds lovely, and I think that you are lucky to have found one here, sconto or no sconto!
    Have fun at the wedding!

  10. Giulia

    How are you guys getting there? Car, train, plane? My guess is train, but if you’re driving, take photos along the way and share so I can say… “Yeah, I know that place!” lol
    I would LOVE to have met up with you too, but I figured it was going to be such a ‘quick getaway’ for you and Peppe that I didn’t mention it before. We definitely have to arrange a GTG! Have fun at the wedding. 🙂

  11. Nadine

    I would be in such trouble trying to buy something that fits me if you had such trouble. Oh boy. I’m glad you finally got something. Please do tell us how it goes at the wedding and remember to take a picture of your new dress.

  12. j

    When I was in Catanzaro I bought a hat at a little hat shop. The sales lady talked to me non-stop in Italian the whole 20 minutes I was in the shop. Now with my tourist understanding of Italian I didn’t get a word of what she was saying (I just know she didn’t say anything about a hotel or a bathroom or a restaurant)and yet I don’t think she ever caught on! Maybe that’s the way to do it.

    By the way, there is someone I know very well (I won’t say what relationship) who is a size 8 and I think she is gorgous.

  13. pat

    Testimonia…Cummara sounds better, ue cumma’. Ue testimonia doesn’t have the same ring. Benevento’s nice. Drink lots of Strega

  14. Kataroma

    It’s horrible shopping here isn’t it? I went shopping on Saturday with a girlfriend. I was kind of embarassed because literally nothing fit me. I’m 5’10” and a size 10 in the US – there is no hope for me. I even tried on the XL and it was too big (phew!) but the sleeves were still too short! After trying on about 5 jackets (L) which wouldn’t button over my boobs and pants which looked like capris I gave up. I’m doing all my shopping on my weekend in London at the end of the week.

    I never see Italian woman who are as tall as me but there are plenty who are as fat as me or (gasp!)
    even fatter- as you ask – where do they shop?

  15. Louise

    WOW what an ordeal…I guess if I ever move to Italy I’ll be bringing my own clothes….LOL!

    I am SO happy that you found something!!
    Hope all goes well with the wedding!!!

  16. Roam 2 Rome

    This post was just way too cute 🙂

    Hey, after all that and senza sconto, at least you found your nice dress:)

  17. Cherrye

    Ambra…did I hear you correctly?!?! CONGRATS! And enjoy your package!

    Giula – we were actually in a little town near Benevento that started with a “C” – like Ceppa something?!? You know it? If it HAD been just Pep and me, we could have taken more time…but we were with a caravan…photos coming soon. (but none along the way…sorry!)

    Nadine and Erin – I will post pics this week!

    J – LOL! Maybe next time I should just pretend to understand better so I can get the sconti! That is what I get for being too friendly! AND – thanks for the ego lift! Although – I think this place is kinda crazy with their size 40whatevers! 🙂

    Pat – you lost me at testimonia! ha ha but thanks lo stesso!

    Kataroma – I hear you! One day there will be enough of “us” here to revolt! Enjoy your London shopping!

    Thanks, Louise – we had a great time! I will post more about it later!

    Roam to Rome – Thanks for stopping by and yes, at least I found a nice dress!

  18. sognatrice

    Cherrye, now that it’s all said and done, you have to share your first experience as a testimone!

    Cummara is basically the feminine form of cumpare (the Italian word is “compare” meaning godfather). Cummara technically refers to a godmother, but it’s a common term of affection among women who are close friends, especially where one is in a big sisterly kind of role to the other. My grandmother, indeed, always addressed her older sister with this, although I have to admit, I thought she was saying “cummata” because that’s what it sounded like in Americanized Calabrese.

    It’s also commonly used among couples, so that P would call me his cummara, and he’d be my cumpare–cut to cummà and cumpà frequently. P’s parents use this a lot, and it’s almost used as a joke among younger couples–like look at us, an old married couple!

    In fact, you know the word “goomba” that’s used in the States? That comes from the fact that southern Italians would call each other “Euh cumpà!” but lots of C’s in Italian got Americanized to G’s and P’s to B’s–another example is that “capicola” became something like “gabagol” in Italian-American circles (the southern Italian tradition of cutting off the last vowel obviously made it to America as well).

  19. kiki

    My only trip to Italy (7 yrs ago for our honeymoon) offered a similarly humilating shopping experience. We arrived in Rome without my garment bag that I had carefully packed with my nicer/dressier clothes. I accidentally left it in the car of the friend who dropped us off at the airport. So we spent many of the first days in Italy looking for something nice for me to wear to the opera in Naples. It was our first opera and I wanted something nice. The shops in Rome were the WORST. I’m tall (5’9) and slender but nothing fit me in Italy. In one store (rome), I asked for a fitting room and the sales lady shook her head and said No to me. She said there was no dressing room and took the garment away from me. I stood there shocked as I had just seen her show another person to a room. I pointed out that little fact to her right away calling her bluff. She finally looked right at me and told me “No, you too big. No try on!” and I was crushed. I think I left in tears.
    Luckily the ladies in Naples, where I finally found something suitable, were so helpful and kind but it was still near impossible to find anything.
    I’ve already decided to stick to shoes or bags, accessories during our October trip. Even though I wear a size 4 or smaller dress, I will not be humiliated again. Maybe I should learn to say something mean back in Italian.

  20. proverbs31

    My teeny tiny sister in law was stationed in Italy for a while and said the same thing. She was actually shopping for THE WEDDING DRESS though, that she would bring back with her to wed my brother. She found one she LOVED but it was a little snug in the hips so she bought it anyway and worked her tail off to lose a few pounds before the wedding. In the end, she had this FABULOUS one of a kind Italian wedding dress. The Italians might be skinny,… but they sure do make some beautiful clothes!!

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