While the Covid-19 pandemic prevents me from traveling to Italy for now, it is never far from my thoughts, and Lucy and I are looking forward to returning to our Montecarlo home in the fall. In the meantime, here are some thoughts about what makes Italy and Italians special, from guest writer Jim Pantaleno.
When you finally make it to Italy, it is so tempting to try to see as much as you can. And there is much to see. People rush through the cities ticking off boxes for the places of interest almost like a homework assignment. Some of the nicest moments, though, are the quiet ones where you sit in a sunny piazza or under the shade of a grapevine and just let it all soak in.
The people, no matter their social status, have such dignity. They dress carefully and carry themselves with grace. The sounds of the language, no matter what part of the country, are like music to your ear. You sit there with a coffee or glass of wine just listening. It feels in your head like some lost language you once spoke, familiar but just beyond memory.
Italians know how to enjoy life. They spend more than they should on clothes because they know something well made and properly fitting will make them look their best. Meals are occasions for joy, whether it’s a croissant and espresso for breakfast or a special dinner with wine. They walk more than we do. La passeggiata is a daily evening stroll with friends to socialize and be seen.
I miss being among them…the feeling of connection they give me to the past. We could learn much from them.
Jim Pantaleo is the author of SPALDEEN DREAMS: A Boy Comes of Age in 1950's Brooklyn, available on Amazon.