Relationships in Italy can flower beautifully.
When they do, you’ll be thanking yourself for having Italy your new home and for doing the work (which includes speaking the language) to become part of the culture. Being the beneficiary of Italian warmth is a wonderful thing, as I’ve been recently reminded by our experience at our new favorite local hangout at MP2 Bar here in Imperia.
It happened quite organically.
And how we came to know MP2 and its welcoming personalities is also an important reminder for me in an essential way: True Italian warmth isn’t transactional in nature. Of course, a bar like MP2 is in the business of making a profit to be able to succeed, but they don’t merely look at their customers as a way to a fat bottom line. Ale (short for Alessandro) and Paolo, and the rest of the staff show up genuinely and generously, not only with their coffees, their aperitivi and appetizers, but in how they interact with their customers. To me, they are stellar examples of putting relationships first and then letting the bottom line build from that. This falls squarely in line with my philosophy on life: Do the right thing, putting relationships first, and trust that the rest will fall into place.
We found MP2 and genuine Italian warmth on a day when we had decided to forgo our usual choice. Despite a friendly wait staff there, we weren’t experiencing a connection that would lead us to place our long-term loyalties. Thank God, we wandered by MP2 BAR and decided to park ourselves there!
Italian warmth coupled with delicious aperitivi and appetizers!
We were greeted with genuine Italian warmth and we placed our order. My jaw dropped when our aperitivi arrived: two glasses of wine (an Arneis and a Traminer) and a cutting board piled with assorted focacce, salame, and prosciutto. These were a marked upgrade from the “other” place and we quickly realized that we’d been missing out.
But while the food and wine were yummy, it was the positive vibes, particularly of father Paolo and son Ale, that made us resolve to keep coming back. Everyone who sat at MP2, strangers and regulars alike, were treated and welcomed just as kindly. Now, this is a place that feels like home, populated with friends who smile broadly when we arrive.
MP2 Bar sits adjacent to the Andrea Doria market and the twice-weekly street market.
While we don’t wait for market days (Wednesday and Saturday) to find a shady table in front of MP2, it certainly has become our habit to do so after loading up on market offerings. You have to reward yourself for the hard work of shopping, right?
If you visit Imperia, do yourself a favor and seek out the Italian warmth at Mp2 Bar
You’ll find it at Piazza Doria 15, Imperia. You’ll find Italian warmth all throughout the day, but we love making our trips there in the mid-day window so that we can commune with Ale and Paolo. MP2 Bar also has a Facebook page.
A hidden talent
We just unearthed the fact that Ale is a vocal coach and a singer on the rise! For those who are interested, next Thursday (the first of July) you can listen to him live at La Lampara in San Bartolomeo a Mare (about 10-15 minutes east of Imperia). We will be there for sure!
If you want to get a taste of Ale’s music, check out one of his videos: