Ahhhh che Bello! If ever I could pick the name of my fantasy lover, truly his name would be ITALY. I have fallen deeply and madly in love with this country and can feel it’s blood coursing through my ‘green, white and red’ veins and into my wildly beating soccer shaped heart. For the first time in my movable life….over 60 moves mind you…I feel at home here in the middle of all it’s charismatic pebble streets and the smell of Pasta seeping out from underneath my neighbor’s doors. I don’t know exactly why, but perhaps it’s the ancient roots embedded in my family or the continual bombardment of fresh gourmet ingredients to ease my deliberate hunger pains. Whatever it is…..Mi sento tranquillo…I feel peaceful.
EVERYTHING IS ART in Italy. The attitude towards ‘creative fields’ is different than in most places…and very much smiled upon. People spend their entire lives studying, practicing, living in the ‘starving artist’ impoverished lifestyle just to reach ‘THE BUDDHA” of their craft…and it shows. Just look at the great masters from Italy and you get a sense of their madness and yet their tranquility. It shows in everything they do…from Art to Food to Architecture to Clothing.
You can often spot, while taking your casual passeggiare or stroll, that unusual doorknob or frilly hinge on decrepit 500 year old doors, creative graffitti (more on that on my blog post THINGS that make you go hmmm?), an artsy historic drinking fountain or even the periodic angelic saint “shrine” somewhere along the wall of a building along your walk. As they say in Italy….Ad ogni santo vien sua festa – Every saint has his own festival! Those are the exquisit hidden treasures you discover as you take that tranquillo time to notice the ornamental love all around you.
Che talor cresce una beltа un bel manto – Fine clothes often make beauty still more beautiful (Italian Ariosto)
My lover, ITALY is sometimes unveiled in a store window display of a local shop owner or major designer store who flaunts the perfect ‘la moda” of Italian male clothing, assembled as if it was a photo of the latest runway model in Milan. The woolen scarf, the gloss leather pointed shoes, the slick suit jacket, the classic leather belt, the muted colored designer shirt….ooh lala! I get goosebumps at the site of him, alas my lover! Sogno d’oro, Dream of Gold as repeated in Italy!
In Sicily they say “WINE has no time, you drink it when you WANT TOO”
The common interpretation of the Italian flag is that the green represents the country’s plains and the hills; white, the snow-capped Alps; and red, the blood shed in the Wars of Italy’s Independence. That about sums it up…except for one thing…there should been something on that flag to indicate the WINE and FOOD!!! That would take a book to write (and there are already hundreds available to read) so instead I will bore you with the everyday obscure things of Italian lifestyle. I will tell you however, every neighborhood grocery store feels like a smaller cheaper version of Whole Foods or Whole Paycheck as I have heard before!
Now let’s talk TV…Italian television is a bit prehistoric in nature, with lots of old B&W films, TV shows which ran popular a few years back in the USA, everything is dubbed (but modern Flat Screens have a setting to revert to original languages of programs, but NOT all!). There are entirely too many talk shows, news shows and Infomercials for my taste! I love that there is always a movie to watch at night although one I have probably already seen! But I do give a couple of good cooking shows a look-see. TV does seem to improve my language skills!
Belle parole non pascon i gatti – Fine words don’t feed cats
Pets, you ask?….Italians are patso or crazy…like ‘angels’ looking over their pets, especially their canine counter parts. Hence the amount of dog Sh*t found on many street walkways. But you have to consider the lack of space and the free park areas just rarely exist. Modern thinkers and educated people tend to be courteous of this, but there are just those few lazy SOB’s and they can be found anywhere in the world! Cats are also beloved pets, found more indoor or in the countryside, and adored equally as well.
There are loads of ‘Chinese Stores’ as they are referred to here. Seems the Chinese have taken up residence here and usually hone a kind of ‘Dollar Store’. Drug stores are separate from Pharmacy’s. There are seperate stores for everything unlike the One-Stop shopping of the USA which I suppose keeps local vendors in business. Door ‘bolts’ turn an average of 2 to 4 times rather than the ‘one spin’ locks back home and sometimes it’s that huge ‘old fashioned’ key you find at the antique shop. Washing machines are complicated with 1.5 hr cycles! Knobs are in various Celsius degrees of heat for everything including spin cycle speed, water draining and sometimes the built into washer – dryer that never works well. On more than one occasion I have totally F*cked up a nice piece of clothing, and it goes in the Toss Pile when I change apartments! A drying rack is a must especially during the winter but sometimes you can hang clothes over the metal wall (non flammable) heaters or use the outside old time pulley system drying rack. Bike riding is fun AND a dangerous adventure! After you a hear the echo of dozens of loud sirens “TITO TITO” from ambulances through the narrow streets you begin to question your choices! With all the Italian kissing of hello and goodbye, of which I have become accustom to, you might as well kiss off any hygiene and embrace that annual Italian cold that passes around faster than dry brush in a bone dry field in California.
Tutte le strade conducono a Roma – All roads lead to Rome
Well my loyal readers, it’s that time to take my passeggiata around my neighbor and get a sniff of the fresh pane at the bakers and un cafe at the local bar (BTW a bar is a cafe and cafe is a bar, lol) and get my daily shopping done for il pranzo, lunch. I think I’ll take my lover, Italy with me.
Ciao, un baci! kisses