My love for all things Italian only started just over a span of 2 short years. The very first trip was to Roma a few years back that did not leave a very good impression on me, no thanks to the brusque mannerisms of the Romans, and the many street vendors that pester anyone who looks foreign or with a camera. Neither did the efficiently organised street crime of audacious pick-pockets do justice to this otherwise once the seat of the powerful Roman empire and civilisation that nearly conquered the whole of the western world, and had greatly influenced the societies and lives of the people in the form of arts, culture, architecture, philosophy, medicine, defense, learning, etc even till today.
My impressions took a turn when I went back to Italy again a few years later and experienced the warmth and the enthusiasm of the Italians we met. Language barrier? Not at all! Most of the Italians do speak English and they are not afraid to speak it. What’s good is that you can find bilingual (Italian and English) signage in the train stations and announcements, so that you know what is going on. Even if there isn’t, just simply smile and ask the local commuting with you. If this fails, and they can only speak in Italian, sign language thrown in will help.
Italian cuisine, so simple yet so elegant and rich, will win the applause of every health-conscious food critic. Pizza, pasta, risotto and many others, may look easy to prepare, but to get the flavors of the ingredients and the quality of the pasta and pizza just right are not easy tasks. Precise timing and good quality of ingredients and most importantly, the pride in maintaining the standard of what is traditional cuisine, and the heart of the chef put inside each of the dishes prepared are what differentiate it from the rest. The best places to eat unpretentious italian cuisine? Is anywhere except Venice and Milan city (because they are too commercialised).
For fashion, Italians are really in a class of their own. The ability to mix classic and loud styles together is their unique style. The best leather products and fashion to me is undeniably Italian. And you know what? Lesser imitations than their French counterparts.
For culture and history buffs like me, this boot-shaped country is simply the best place to be in to get a feel of what was like there and then. She is like an open museum, everywhere you go, you will probably find a Roman rempart. Museums and art galleries are filled with the magnificent displays of paintings and sculptures that were hype of the different periods. Sadly, these days, these are really a thing of the past.
Italian hospitality is by far and large, genuine and warm. So instead of staying in a fancy posh hotel, why not try a friendly and cosy Bed and Breakfast where you can interact with the hosts and also the other tourists like you during breakfast or any time of the day? This is the best way to get up and personal to people and understanding their way of lives and language better!
So what else is stopping you? Book your next holiday to Italy! If you have no idea where to head, check out my blog!
You will not be disappointed if you go with an open mind.