Ti amo, L’Italia

Quello che mi piaciano degli italiani

  1. The unconditional hospitality: regardless of whether you are of the same blood or strangers, an Italian will take you into their home to feed you well.  As a part of this trip, we all went to an Italian family’s house for dinner.  As myself and one of the other girls stepped into their car as they picked us up, the second comment after piacere was ‘you are always welcome at our house’.
  2. La bellezza: looking beautiful is what the Italians do well.  They never step out of the house looking shabby.  Even in the evenings when they take their passegiata, the men wear nice leather shoes with straight coats, and the women wear heeled boots and chic puffy coats.  No Ugg boots here!
  3. La bella figura: This not only involves the belleza as described above, but represents the core of presentation.  Defined by not only by how you look, but how you behave and interact socially.  This is shown in so many ways, for example, setting the table in a beautiful way for guests and using an extensive amount of plates, the displays of shop windows, the shopkeeper of a clothing store doing every for you, the constant chatter with those around you in the streets… the list goes on.
  4. Campanalismo: In all cities and towns of Italy are belltowers, i campanili, of churches, cathedrals and towers.  Their bells still chime every day (the Duomo next to the hotel starts at 7am) and they are situated right next to a piazza which are the centres of city congregations.  Campanalismo is the symbol of devotion or love that an Italian feels for their city, town or village, as the most prominent building is always the campanile.  It plays a big part in Italian identity, as Italians don’t seem to have a big regard for national pride.  If you meet an Italian, they don’t usually introduce themselves as italiano but usually they will say sono romano, I’m Roman, first.

Lucca

In Lucca on top of the Torre Guinigi

Today, at the fruit store across the road, the fruit vendor had a sign up saying il referendum della barba di Marco with a tally under si or non.  He was growing a beard, and obvioulsy his wife was not so impressed.  So today, he decided to ask his customers.  One of the ladies in the fruit store said that he looked troppo vecchio with his beard, but I voted si.  He was very impressed with us Australians!

Yesterday, we went to a lovely town only 45 minutes from Prato called Lucca.  It is such a quaint and charming town as all of the old city walls still remain intact.  To enter the city, you can walk through the walls to reach il centro storico.  All I wanted to do was wonder through the city for days.  There were vicoli after vicoli leading you through tunnels, archways and piazze.  A few of us climbed il Torre Guinigi which towered over the city with oak trees on top.  We then head off to Viareggio, a town on the seaside.  It was a lovely day, sun shining and a lovely 11 degrees… time for a gelato.  Surprisingly the beach was completely sandy and very wide.  If it wasn’t for the snowy mountain backdrop, I wouldn’t have believed I was in Italy!

ViareggioViareggio

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