After a brief break from the January-like weather in March, we have once again returned to January. Our garden is now a lake. The desperately needed work on our building has been at a stand still for two weeks. On the bigger front, our government has gone to pot and we are quickly becoming the butt of everyone’s EU jokes (and rightfully so). The news is filled with stories of people not making ends meet and unemployment at an all time high. The only ray of sunshine these days is a new, wonderful, positive Pope (let’s hope he brings some “allegra” to this country!).
I have loved living here in Italy, but right now, it’s just plain dreary, literally and figuratively. Soooooooo, I am re-posting and adding to my PRO Italy List. I originally wrote this list 6 years ago, when someone referred to living in Italy in a not so positive way. I do believe this is a wonderful place to live and that this big, bad hiccup will come to an end. And because in the end, this is where I call home…
1. 2500 years of history (good, bad, scandalous, heroic, but always interesting) that shaped western civilization
2. The fact that most kids have read some of Dante by the time they are 14
3. The marriage between food, wine and life – you can’t have one without the others
4. Importance of family and actually meaning it
5. The rumble and glistening of olive trees when you can’t decide if they are green silver or lavender
6. Donatello, the master of near every medium of art including wood, bronze, gold, marble & paper
7. The passeggiata, the afternoon stroll is the prefect way to start your evening and work off a big pasta lunch!
8. The crystal clear, pristine sea water in the bay between Portovenere and Palmaria
9. Dogs being allowed in dressing rooms in department stores
10. Hot, fresh Focaccia – sorry but it just cannot be duplicated in the states like it is here
11. Isola Bella near Taormina, Sicily
12. How a caffè latte can brighten up your whole day
13. “Pianeta Mare”, “Linea Blue” & “SuperQuark” – these informative shows on history and the sea put Mutual of Omaha & National Geographic to shame!
14. The smell of jasmine and wisteria EVERYWHERE in spring (WHEN it arrives!)
15. Learning when what produce is in season
16. Turning the corner and finding another 1000 year old street or chapel
17. Looking up and realizing that’s not snow, it’s marble!
18. The milk, it just tastes way better, fresher here
19. Learning when what fish is in season and what fish are better “surgelato” (frozen)
20. Seeing the Pantheon for the first or 100th time, it never seizes to amaze me
21. Mastering walking in stilettos on 500 year old cobblestones
22. Chocolate from Modica or Lucca
23. Discothèques opening till sunrise
24. HEBA Morellino di Scansano – one glass is never, never, never enough
25. The voices of Pavarotti, Francesco Renga & Zucchero
26. Being able to jump in the car and drive to no where and still have seen a lot
27. Trains, even when they are not on time, it’s still such a convenient way to get around
28. Weekly markets: whether it’s food, clothes or junk, nowhere does the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” means so much
29. La Twingo, best damn car I have ever owned!
30. Italians can do wonders with little space – it is amazing what you can fit into a 600 square foot home!
31. Nonnapappera, La Rana Golasa, Grom, Vestri, La Piazza and Antica Delizia: gelatos from these grand establishments cannot be duplicated
32. My husband and son (ok this one is really biased)
33. The novelty of Variety Shows – ok, they may be cheesy, but even with the half dresses dancers there is something almost “old fashion” about them
34. Morning swims in Grotto Byron
35. Alessandro del Piero – the man who can still bring “class” to the game of soccer (now that he is retired to some team in Australia, I will add Gigi Buffon)
36. The amazing variety of fantastic reading glasses by top designers
37. The bidet – once you know what it’s for and how to use it, you’ll never want to be without one
38. All the great stuff you can get at the “Farmacia” with or without a prescription
39. A strong respect for elders and their stories
40. The marble lavandina – chopping counter, sink and place to dry your dishes all in one
41. The smell of roasted chestnuts on the city streets during the fall
And on to the new…
42. Il Nido – taking day care to an amazing level, at least here in Lerici
43. Not having sat down yet, and my caffè latte is on it’s way, along with a 1/2 piece of focaccia and glass of acqua frizzante
44. Time re-chargable cell phones – you can add minutes when you want versus being stuck in a contract with a big monthly fee.
45. MasterChef Italia – sheer excellence in Italian cuisine and fantastic entertainment
46. La cassatta, canoli and anything else made with Ricotta – no country can beat this country’s ricotta
47. The diversity of this land geographically – from the Alps to the plains of Emilia Romagna, to the bustling cities to the rolling hills of Val D’Orcia, to the glorious lakes in the north to the powdery sand beaches of Puglia, from the verdant seaside of Liguria to the white washed, beautiful baroque buildings of SE Sicily.
48. Decent, I mean really good, wine for less than €5 a bottle
49. Learning thee is so much more to the cow than hamburger meat – ok, I sound real hillbilly here, but I had no idea how many cuts, types of meat dishes could be made from one cow, or pig for that matter, it amazes me and so glad nothing goes to waste.
50. Labor – what we pay our handymen or cleaning people here versus in the states is enormously less.
And so on and so on…I encourage my fellow expats to add to this list as well!
Posted by meganmccaffrey