Still being held (voluntarily) captive in my hometown of Seattle, I have had some time to reflect and really think about the things that compel me to want to live in Italy.
What are the 10 things I love about Italy?
1. 2. and 3.: Since these are the obvious, I will lump them all together: Food, wine and men. Seattle has some good food but it usually is drowning in sauce while lacking soul.
The only places I am 100% content with are hole-in-the-wall family run joints, 9 times out of ten these are “ethnic” restaurants. Or kinda fancy joints like Le Zinc, Bar Cotto, etc which I have the pleasure of visiting on the foodie tours I get to do in Seattle. Also happy hours in Seattle…hmmm I need to write a round-up about that…
I love the casereccia comfort food restaurants in Florence, fresh pasta, the food trucks dolling out cow guts (lampredotto forever!) and cheap wine and the endless array of my favorite drug: gelato in Florence.
Wine produced in the US, unless it is from some high-end producer (who I am discovering on my wine tours) it basically all tastes like tart white grape juice or vanilla scented dried prune juice. The men? Italians have tragically stunning style. Some men had better style than me! I sometimes felt like a greasy hippie in comparison to their neatly ironed shirts, immaculate season appropriate shoes that matched perfectly with flattering slacks, wearing scarfs like a woman wears red lipstick. To say the least, I am very impressed with the amount of effort Italians put into their appearance. That may sound shallow, but I look at fashion as art and if you can have style, any style..even from thift store…it shows you have some inkling of taste and creativity. If any of you have been to Seattle, I need say no more. Two pieces of advice gents: A northface jacket is not sexy and neither are your flip flops. Yes, people may have their stereotypes about Italian men, but I should write a whole piece on that.
4. Balsamic vinegar.
5. Dinner starts at 8 but really usually 9. I honestly feel sad about our dining culture in America. We eat around 6 or 7 because of the daily grind or…because we’re just boring. I love how when people go out to dinner in Italy, they savor and enjoy. Usually taking an evening stroll post-meal and not getting back in our cars to drive home. I mean, it’s not that this NEVER happens in Italy- people have cars and drive home and there are boring people in Italy, too. I think that thanks to lively, passionate culture the norm is more of what I am describing. Although this kind of culture is on the eroding decline THANKS TO AMERICA!
6. COFFEE!!!!!! A coffee is like a euro (an espresso! or 1.20 for a velvety cappuccino) and there are usually way too delicious pastries also for a euro to go with! My new FAVORITE pastry is pistachio filled cornetti (brioche). If I am feeling decadent, I’ll splurge for a nutella filled croissant. I love that getting a coffee is still an affordable luxury for everyone. Unlike the states, where getting coffee is like $5 and not something you should be spending money on everyday. 30eu per month vs $150. I think that would be a hard expense for a student, the unemployed, families and older folks living on small pensions.
7. ITALIANS HAVE OPINIONS! About everything! And they don’t take heated debates to heart or personally! They are the best conversationalists. I finally found the place where I feel at home. Where I can criticize just about everything in jest and not be put referred to as “strong minded, outspoken bla bla bla”….I JUST HAVE A MIND AND DECIDED TO USE IT!
8. Il dolce di far niente. (the sweetness of doing nothing) I personally despise the pressure in Seattle to be the go-getter, the bread maker, the mountain climber-entrepreneur-writer-organic-eating-CSA member-musician-know-it-all do gooder. What happened to just sitting on a park bench with your own thoughts and without a smartphone?
9. The importance of friends and family. I can’t tell you how much my personal philosophy has changed thanks to the generosity and the strong values for community Italians have. When you have a friend there, you can call them on the fly and see who they are out with and join the group. In Seattle, I have found that social events are planned well in advance and there is not much of sporadic, organic gatherings mixing groups of friends. People actually like their families in Italy (or at least put on a good show of doing so) and worship their parents and siblings.
This was not a very conventional list, but this is only part of what I love about Italy. And I didn’t even mention her amazing sights…
In love for Italia,
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