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UNDERSTANDING ITALY  ( part one )

Panoramic view of Ponte Vecchio, Florence. Tuscany.

We all know that there are big differencies between Italy and the rest of the World. It is not easy to explain…We could say: the very ancient history surrounding you with the streets, the houses, the monuments and the mansions; or the food…so different when compared with that prepared in other Countries; or the way people live and the notorious laziness of  the Italian lifestyle; or the immense importance that Italians give to their family relationships…and that might be all. Although it’s almost all we could tell about these differencies, I think there is something more to say, something not tangible, something not writable, something difficult to be understood. Italy is not a Country to dream about for fashion, food or history…The thing is far more complex…I would say that Italy is like a kind of organic system, a living organism full of beauty and difficulties; it’s something you must feel…not evaluate rationally. If you expect too much from Italy you are probably making a mistake…if you do like that, after having visited some Churches, some tipycal restaurants, dress shops and trendy beaches, you will say to yourselves – well….and then ?…is that all ? Is this the famous Italy ? Is this everything I’ve dreamed about ? – And you could be easily disappointed…No wide highways, no frenetic nightlife, no huge modern malls, no tall and glassy skycrapers…so ? Is this Italy that magazines and books and people point out as a fantastic place to see ? And you all will probably depart without the mith you had before your trip. You must be aware that generally Italians are, first of all, conservative and quiet people, with strong, traditional values…therefore in Italy you won’t find easy free sex as one night stands, reckless nightlife, and huge cahotic Cities…but many Theaters, traditional restaurants, fine discoteques and clubs with stylish people who don’t usually appreciate the excesses. So…if you are looking for that kind of fun it will be better choosing another Country! You must come to visit Italy only if you are prepared to see a quiet place and if you are interested to conceive Italian lifestyle as a life system. Too much globalization which aims to make every Country the same ( same food, same movies, same goods, same lifestyle, etc… ) is risking to make us all a bit poorer, by losing our own peculiarities. We can appreciate globalization only if it keeps our traditions, peculiarities and lifestyles alive. That’s Italy, not globalized…a Country full of problems…deeply inside a strong econimic crisis, with growing immigration and integration problems, all matched with the bigger artistc patrimony of the whole World, with the better food ( as recently the famous Forbes magazine wrote, quoting the Emilia-Romagna food as the best in the World ), and with an exceptional handicraft ( starting from fashion, through the furniture design, up to shoes and cars ). that’s italy…Country of contrasts, Country of antique religion traditions, Country of many different regions and many different people. That’s Italy…come here with no expectations, come here just to explore it and to breath its spirit…and don’t judge immediately…but wait and when you will be returned home, after a while, you will be able to better undestand Italy with all its weaknesses, all its contrasts, all its qualities and all its deficiencies…and your judgement will be much more complete and real…That’s Italy as we love it, despite all its problems.

P.M.

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