ITALY. I Trust And Love You.
It may be smaller than California in terms of size, but Italy is big in almost all things that matter: food, coffee, art and literature, fashion, beautiful people, and fabulous cars. The Italians certainly know pleasure and have undoubtedly mastered living the sweet life (La Dolce Vita) and the sweetness of doing nothing (Il Dolce Far Niente). Its language is a lyrical tune that even swearing and cussing sound really good.
I fell in love with Italy the first time I set eyes on it. È stato amore a prima vista (It was love at first sight). I have been to Italy several times but every time is like the first time. Like a lover, it takes me into its arms, leaves me breathless, and wanting for more. Italy speaks to me in a language that only lovers speak and understand. It sings to me in a honeyed melody that only I can hear. Italy loves me back.
People fall in love for many different reasons. These are mine:
1. Italy is the Savior of the Lost
Getting lost in Italy is not worrisome. The locals, especially the retired folks (i pensionati) who spend every afternoon sitting on benches are your “go to persons.” Ask them for directions and they would be happy to tell you, “Vada dritto. Sempre dritto.” (“Go straight. Always straight.”) or “Di là” (meaning “over there”) while pointing their forefingers as you crane your neck to see what’s “over there” but they will always give you accurate directions coupled with hand gestures (i gesti).
2. Italy is a Festival of Flavors
Italy has mastered the art of eating well — from pizza, pastas, desserts, cheeses, liqueurs to regional specialty dishes. Italy has twenty regions and each one has its own specialties to brag about. Rome is renowned for its pasta dishes namely the Carbonara and Cacio e Pepe. In Sicily, however, pasta with seafood is king. Their cannoli is also a hit. Naples is famous for pizza. Many believe that the best pizza comes from Naples since it was invented there. Buon appetito!
Salumi, pizza, pasta, cannoli!!! Mamma mia!
3. Italy is Home to my Favorite Men
Michelangelo. Da Vinci. Alighieri. Galilei. Machiavelli. Artusi.
From the mesmerizing Sistine Chapel ceiling to the enchanting Mona Lisa; to the epic Divine Comedy; to discovering that the sun is the center of the solar system; to believing that since love and fear can hardly exist together, and if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than to be loved; and to mastering the art of eating well, Italy has greatly influenced the world in terms of art, literature, science, politics, and food.
4. Italy is Close to Heaven
There is no shortage of churches, abbeys, and chapels in Italy, not to mention that the seat of the Catholic Church, The Vatican, is headquartered there. It also seems that the Italians have a special connection with the Virgin Mary. She is everywhere: on people’s necklaces, on coffee bar countertops, or tucked into alcoves on many street corners, and of course, inside every church.
The Virgin Mary on random streets in Italy
5. Italy is Family
Italians live by their expression: “La famiglia è tutto” (Family is everything.) When I visited Italy recently, a friend invited me to join him and his family for a Sunday luncheon. I thought it would be just him, his wife, and his two young kids, but boy, was I wrong! Thirteen other family members and a neighbor were also present. I asked him why there was such a big attendance. He just smiled and simply said, “Lunch every Sunday with family is normal.”
6. Italy is Love…pure and simple!
Verona was the perfect setting for Shakespeare’s tale of romance and family feuding, “Romeo and Juliet.” The Club di Giulietta, situated in the city gets so many letters asking Juliet for advice, that you can volunteer to be one of Juliet’s secretaries for a day to help respond to their pleas for guidance. People all over the world write to Juliet asking for advice on love, friendship, heartbreak, family matters, or just about anything. Many believe that Juliet has the answers to their troubles especially when it comes to love. The love story of two star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, seems to live forever in everyone’s hearts.
At the Club di Giulietta as “Juliet’s secretary” for a day!
7. Italy is Music…literally!
During my recent trip to Italy, I went to see Naples and the moment I got off the train, I could hear a sweet but faint melody coming from somewhere. As I reached the lobby of the Naples Central Station, I saw tourists and locals singing as they surround an elderly man playing the piano to the tune of “O Sole Mio!” This is perhaps the most famous Italian song. What a melodious way to welcome visitors to the city!
8. Italy is Intoxicating
If Bacchus, the Roman God of wine were still around, he would have the time of his life feasting on a wide variety of wine in this part of the world. Italy is the world’s largest producer of wine by volume and has over a million vineyards currently cultivated.
Italy gives me an excuse to indulge in wine drinking (moderately, of course). Why not? After all, in vino, veritas! Don’t we all search for the truth?
Vino! Vino! Vino!
9. Italy Awakens the Senses
My visit to Florence is not complete until I step inside the Biffoli Shop (Aromi Firenze), a perfumeria right across from the Florence Cathedral. As I enter, I’m greeted by a heavenly scent of flowers, spices, and herbs. The shelves are lined with colognes in attractive bottles, beautifully crafted hand-pressed soaps, and lush creams in intricately designed jars. The Florentines have surely mastered the art of creating fragrances using ancient Florentine perfume making traditions handed down from many centuries ago.
10. Italy is Very Social
In Italy, coffee is not just a drink, it is a social beverage. For an Italian, saying “Let’s have coffee” also means “Let’s chat and spend time together.” There is a connection between the Italians and their coffee bars, as well as romance between the coffee drinkers and their coffee. With coffee, a community is created and human connection is established. Watching the animated conversations of Italians while they drink their coffee is a fascinating sight to behold.
La vita inizia dopo il caffè. (Life begins with coffee.)
Published on We the Italians Magazine “TEN REASONS TO FALL IN LOVE WITH ITALY”