My intention is not to have you just travel the roads of Italy, but to offer you the experience of living like the Italians.
It’s not easy to describe meanings and feelings of being Italian. My country reminds me of a mosaic made of so many tiny pieces, each with different colors and shades, each shining its own light but all part of that great design that is Italy.
That’s Italy: a one and a multiple, Italy is unique but ever changing. Italy is positioned right there on the center of the Mediterranean sea and has been the stage to many stories of world heritage and where that heritage has birth and developed.
An ever amazing story that anyone born here or who lives here or who chooses to visit and spend time in Italy will enjoy listening to and experiencing in person. A land nestled along the sea, which stretches from the white snow peaked Alps of the North, with that exhilarating fresh pine perfumed air, to the small and quaint Sicilian bays, where the scent of the sea is one with the essence of citrus fruit. In this one country we find the endless variety of beautiful landscapes, views, perfumes, flavors, traditions and dialects, that divide the country only politically in regions, provinces and cities. But presents itself as one incredible blend of authentic beauty and warmth.
This country has been ambushed by so many peoples over the centuries, each leaving a trace of their passage. The Etruscans founded cities and villages, designed and built tools, utensils, jewels and their tombs that are like living museums to the point of being object of admiration of the Ancient Romans. The Greeks fell in love with Cuma, founded Neapolis and conquered Sicily. The Visigoths, the Carolingian, the Swabians, the Ottomans, the Spanish, the Austrian-Hungarians, blended their customs and traditions with those of the local people, leaving traditions we find traces of still today. And the attacks made by the Saracens along the coats – have left remains still today of those old defense towers built by locals overlooking the sea. And each time, the suffering that came from foreign domination, including all the difficulties, gave birth to a part of what we consider today “ the Italian excellence”. Just to prove that creativity, that is natural of the people, has origin from a multiplicity of a day by day history.
Poems and prose of touching beauty, the paintings and sculptures that beautifully depicted the naked were done in respect and modesty. Many local recipes were born in the kitchens of poor and humble families who had to do with the simple ingredients available nevertheless they created special, delicious dishes today part of Italian cuisine and at the same time carry a curios story within them. Just think of faro grain soup in Lucca, or the ribollita in Tuscany, pasta and fagioli in Napoli. Superb opera singers, composers, actors, storytellers, mathematicians performed while tailors and artisans created amazing products envy of fashion designers today.
Everywhere revolts and plots exploited heroes, martyrs and saints, whose words are still repeated today and whose presence still haunt the palaces and the street corners where they lived.
The word “Italian” still today is an adjective that says everything about quality of anything it describes: whether a car, a suite, a jewel or a dish of pasta, “Italian” says it all. An Italian will always transmit that feel of respect for beauty and forms in general and in particular. Tasting that first morning coffee an Italian is not satisfied just to “drink a coffee”, but it is essential that it’s a “good coffee”. Similarly an Italian is not happy to simply wear a piece of clothing to dress himself/herself, but wants to live, feel it like a second skin.
In a place where supreme poetry and beauty reign in harmony in the landscapes as in the architecture and art, form becomes essential and equally important to substance. Everything is placed in a beautiful setting and sometimes you just breathe the warm air at sunset or take a walk through the city to find yourself surrounded by its peace of mind which rejuvenates the spirit provoking the wish to be an actor of the scene. Because Italy has that power to cancel time and to defy history.
I like to identify myself with pride in this one great open sky workshop that Italy is. I can see no limit to celebrate the historic and traditional sites but beyond this I want you to experience Italy as a true Italian. Being Italian means waking up with a smile, formulate words in verse, stroll through the narrow streets and attend local markets, dining in the trattorie of a local neighborhood, board a Lambretta or a Fiat 500.
Or if you prefer, in short, simply enjoy life.