Primavera in Piemonte


The cuckoo bird has arrived and is relentlessly announcing every minute of daylight while the Nightingale sings us a sweet lullaby-  all night long. The fireflies are so thick we don’t need to turn on the porch light. And the Dandelions! The world has turned predominately yellow – they pave the roadsides, carpet the vineyards, and brashly wave their yellow heads from even the tiniest cracks in our concrete patio. Far off hillsides covered in dandelions scream ‘look at me and be happy!’ They are overwhelming in their enthusiastic abundance.


Armloads of wildflowers from right outside my backdoor


On the left, dandelions in the vineyards as the look right now. On the right, (with BFF Yvonne Calloway-Smith last year) how it will be in a just few weeks. 

Dandelions are one of the hardiest and most dependable wildflowers, growing virtually everywhere on the planet. My sister, Amanda Scardino, used to call dandelions 'blowing flowers'. And yes, I said FLOWER, not WEED.

In Italy,  young wild dandelions are picked to use in salads and to make one of my favorite Piemontese specialties, torte verde. But they are not ‘dandy-lions’ here. ‘Dente di leone’, translates to ‘tooth of the lion’. This makes sense if you look closely at the ragged shape of the leaves and also explains why they are sometimes known as ‘denti di cane’ (dog teeth).

Call them anything you want - a dandelion by any other name would still sing spring to me!