I’ve noticed a little something. After a few weeks of settling into a country, I start to feel an enormous fondness for the quirks of the people and their way of life.
You know, those everyday tastes and sights, the titbits you would hardly notice in the place where you live. But when you’re on the road these day-to-day experiences hit you like salt on an open wound. You feel them.
Italy has crept deep into me like I never imagined it would. I feel a huge affection for this nation of passionate, disorganised, spontaneous, manic, patriotic and irresponsible souls. I’m feeling their wholehearted ‘amore’, it’s everywhere.
I’m considered an ‘advanced’ driver
Now, anyone that’s had the joy of being in a car with me knows that I’m no expert behind the wheel. In Italy, however, anything goes. I can cut folk up, drive too fast or potter along like a hedgehog. No one looks twice if I swerve into the wrong lane, get confused at roundabouts or beep accidentally. I can even go unnoticed driving naked.
Every tomato tastes
Oh yes baby, each pomodorino melts into you as if it were a midsummer’s day. Oozing with sunshine, deeper in colour than Chanel for nails, this Italian ball of love is the sassy, confident accompaniment to absolutely every meal.
It’s impossible to find a bad hairdresser in Italy. Even the pokiest little village in the deepest corner of the country will have a goldilocks guru. Alongside eating well, one must look good. Damn good.
No questions asked, it’s simply served. Just how I like it. Black. Smooth. A hint of bitterness. Generous crema. In a perfectly formed white cup. Rocket fuel. With a glass of water on the side.
Female Italians dominate. The household mama calls the shots, men trail behind their ladies when out on the town. It’s the women that say what, where, when, why and how.
I’ve yet to see a disagreeable lamppost. New, old and vintage, each one is a veritable work of art. They even merit staying up past 9pm. Hell yes, they’re that striking.
Old men on bicycles
Two of my favourite things, moulded together, like bread and butter. And more often than not there’s a basket thrown in, that’ll be to transport the pasticciotti and vino home to Mama’s ample bosom.
I’m honoured, everywhere
In every major town you’ll find a Zona PIP. Oh yes, the Italians gave their infrastructure a thorough overhaul in advance of my visit. To be quite frank, I feel as important to Italy as the Olympics were to Beijing.