So why is Italy so special to you?

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Post by ghiro on Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:56 pm

As I remarked to a friend the other day 'Every time you drive round a corner in Italy you're faced by something unexpected and wonderful'.  Smile 

Which got me thinking, as I chomped on a delicious pizza this evening, why Italy is such a very special country.  My personal take is as follows:

On the plus side (in no particular order):

  • the art
  • the architecture
  • the food
  • the wine (apart from Barolo nobody seems to know about/appreciate the other excellent wines available)
  • the people (welcoming and friendly and helpful, even if you're stranieri)
  • the views (countryside/hills/mountains)
  • the 'piano piano' approach to life
  • the importance of family
  • the weather (please see below)


On the minus side (again in no particular order):

  • the driving
  • the corruption
  • the Mafia etc
  • the bureaucracy
  • dysfunctional politics
  • the weather (please see below)


On the whole I think the weather is a positive for my neck of the woods but it can be brutal in winter and (as at present) 'changeable' in summer!

Doubtless you will feel there are errors of omission and of commission in my lists.  So please let me know why Italy is so special to you.
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Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:40 pm

No you can't have one entry for "the food"... The Italians would go off their trolley at that... I'm with you on the bulk of what you have, but the food... well the herbs are just so intense in both smell and flavour and the toms sweet and deep, deep red... Almost everything you see in the fruit and veg shop is of such high quality and has to be as little of it matches the stuff we pluck out of the gardens... !!! I love the little eccentric things they do and have and also really dislike them at times...
Flying things at meal times, especially mozzies, scorpions sitting in your wood pile, hail when the car is out in the open, dogs barking at 4 in the morning and the way the weeds always grow faster than your produce/flowers.... Those I'm not so keen on....

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So why is Italy so special to you? Empty fair enough....

Post by sebastiano on Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:40 am

but just a couple of comments..this business of "a piano piano approach to life" i can assure you is ONLY in fairly rural environments,just as it would be i imagine in northern scotland or central wales..and that is not something new i can rember in milan when we sacked an administrative worker because she was not willing to work over9 hours a day and beyond her working hours (45-50 minutes for lunch) and everyone expected to work until at least 7pm...everybody running like on a treadmill...like london actually.. and even food is no longer sacred...i was reading only yesterday on the huge growth of the ready meals market..just pop it in the microwave...and the fact that they've just opened another mcdonald's in Roma outside of a tourist area (in fact residential) one of the largest in europe..they now employ nearly 30.000 people in italy..this place is changing now very fast....so stick to the hills the tide may not reach us for a while.....
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Post by Flip on Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:23 am

ghiro wrote:As I remarked to a friend the other day 'Every time you drive round a corner in Italy you're faced by something unexpected and wonderful'.  Smile
Every time we drive round a corner we're normally faced with a dodering old bloke in a mark 1 Fiat Panda in the middle of the road barely tall enough to see over the wheel.......
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Post by ghiro on Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:20 am

Very Happy  Very Happy !!
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Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:21 pm

This just fits here... We have far too many tomatoes, peppers and aubergines to know what to do with... Oh and squash ready for the first time today... So today we lit up the pizza oven and put in a small tin of corneto peppers, then not wishing to waste heating a massive pizza oven, we put in the squash (JamieO recipe), masses of cherry tomatoes drizzled in olive oil with lots of our very intense basil and thin sliced garlic. A big fish net type griddle did the aubergines in 5 minutes. However it was the tomatoes that made the day... So, so intense and sweet, superb simply stirred through in the pasta....

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Post by Lagartija Nick on Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:11 am

I fell in love with the country on my first visit many years ago and despite travelling all over the world kept coming back, so it was no surprise that I moved here, it just feels like home.
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Post by Flip on Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:41 pm

On a further note, Italy is so special because no matter how frustrated, pissed off, exasperated one gets with the ''System'', the Politics, the Bureaucracy and any other myriad of negatives here; you can still get home, have a glass of your preferred tipple, make a bowl of pasta with a simple sauce sit on your terrace and as if by magic...... non of it really matters. Italy has this ability to be able to forgive itself for all (well almost) of its Sins.
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Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:13 pm

Flip wrote:On a further note, Italy is so special because no matter how frustrated, pissed off, exasperated one gets with the ''System'', the Politics, the Bureaucracy and any other myriad of negatives here; you can still get home, have a glass of your preferred tipple, make a bowl of pasta with a simple sauce sit on your terrace and as if by magic...... non of it really matters. Italy has this ability to be able to forgive itself for all (well almost) of its Sins.

.. I knew you weren't really that grumpy.... superb !

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Post by la alma on Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:30 pm

I too fell in love with Italy many years ago. Ive been to incredibly beautiful places in other countries that I felt privileged to have seen, but for some reason Italy just made me melt inside and I knew I would keep returning. It is my second love. The part of England where I live was my first which I discovered when I was 16 on a visit from my industrial home town. Again, it wasn't the first beautiful British place I'd visited but something just clicked and I felt at home there. So now I have the delight of being a part of both and feel doubly blessed.
Sorry this sounds a bit over sentimental and silly but I still get butterflies when I step out of the plane and savour the wonderful Italian smells of woodsmoke and herbs and food etc. etc.

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Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:30 pm

la alma wrote:I too fell in love with Italy many years ago. Ive been to incredibly beautiful places in other countries that I felt privileged to have seen, but for some reason Italy just made me melt inside and I knew I would keep returning. It is my second love. The part of England where I live was my first which I discovered when I was 16 on a visit from my industrial home town. Again, it wasn't the first beautiful British place I'd visited but something just clicked and I felt at home there. So now I have the delight of being a part of both and feel doubly blessed.Sorry this sounds a bit over sentimental and silly but I still get butterflies when I step out of the plane and savour the wonderful Italian smells of woodsmoke and herbs and food etc. etc.

Neither sentimental or silly, just honest.. Now I just need to find out this English place...  Smile

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Post by la alma on Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:13 am

It's the Peak District in Derbyshire!

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So why is Italy so special to you? Empty Thanks La Alma,,,

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:39 am

la alma wrote:It's the Peak District in Derbyshire!

... not a place we have been to, but our daughter is staying with her husbands family there for the second time next month. I'll have to try and remember to ask her to get some pictures and tell us about the place as it's not too far.  Smile

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Post by Flip on Sun Aug 24, 2014 2:41 pm

la alma wrote:It's the Peak District in Derbyshire!

The Peak district is good (I grew up around there) but for spectacle I'd take Italy any time.
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Post by la alma on Sun Aug 24, 2014 6:48 pm

I agree that Italy is more spectacular, although Derbyshire is also full of spectacular views, but on a gentler, more user friendly scale. Hills rather than mountains, lots of dales and rivers and woods, riddled with footpaths that are never too far from a suitable refreshment stop, wild moorland and pretty villages. It has some buildings worth visiting -  eg Chatsworth, Haddon Hall, but of course it doesn't have the lovely mellowness of the Italian architecture - or the language which I love, or my neighbour's (in Italy) homemade pasta or the wild boar snuffling round the house or the feeling of having gone back in time to a much healthier lifestyle or so many other things I'm now addicted to. I'm making myself feel very homesick for my Italian hamlet so it's lucky we'll be there again very soon.

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So why is Italy so special to you? Empty Well it's the passion I love...

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:09 pm

la alma wrote:I agree that Italy is more spectacular, although Derbyshire is also full of spectacular views, but on a gentler, more user friendly scale. Hills rather than mountains, lots of dales and rivers and woods, riddled with footpaths that are never too far from a suitable refreshment stop, wild moorland and pretty villages. It has some buildings worth visiting -  eg Chatsworth, Haddon Hall, but of course it doesn't have the lovely mellowness of the Italian architecture - or the language which I love, or my neighbour's (in Italy) homemade pasta or the wild boar snuffling round the house or the feeling of having gone back in time to a much healthier lifestyle or so many other things I'm now addicted to. I'm making myself feel very homesick for my Italian hamlet so it's lucky we'll be there again very soon.



Well it's the passion I love where ever it  may be. For me it is Italy, for now, but you never know do you... I watched this debate on another forum many times regards living in the UK or Italy, senseless (Italy always mind Smile ) really, but lovely to see or read peoples thoughts on where they are at this particular moment in  time... TY again la alma... It will soon be Italy I gather, and us the UK...


Last edited by stevegwmonkseaton on Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:28 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : 'cos Ghiro said so... xXx)

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Post by ghiro on Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:38 pm

stevegwmonkseaton wrote:
Italy always wind Smile




I find that too.  I put it down to the pasta!  Very Happy  Very Happy  Very Happy
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Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:29 pm

... you naughty mouse you, but I like it!  Laughing  Laughing  Laughing

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Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:54 am

I'm sure we  have people here that like Italy for these views BBC LINK A few people we know adore Rome and I'm sure if we stayed there for a while we would learn a lot about the place, other than the famous!

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Post by la alma on Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:32 pm

Just read a book with a fabulous sentence which I think sums up the personal hold Italy has on me and probably most of you.It's talking about loving a painting really, (in the book The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt), but can be anything that moves us deeply. The quote I love is "the nail where your fate is liable to catch and snag". That's exactly what happened to me when I woke up in Italy for the first time, many years ago. I knew it was a life altering experience. That nail has never worked loose.

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Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:35 pm

Yes, I like the quote very much, how apt! Thanks.

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Post by ghiro on Tue Mar 03, 2015 5:27 pm

I've just been watching the sun set on the distant snow-clad Apennines.  What could be more magical? Smile Smile
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Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Tue Mar 03, 2015 5:39 pm

Perhaps with a glass of fizzy in your hand.... We too have sat out watching the sun go down and listening to a cacophony of different bird song - very nice to be back!

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Post by ghiro on Tue Mar 03, 2015 5:42 pm

stevegwmonkseaton wrote:Perhaps with a glass of fizzy in your hand....
Goes without saying Steve.  Goes without saying! Very Happy
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Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:07 pm

Apparently we are going from this lovely weather to 60cm of snow on Thursday! Oh and a drop of 15c degrees!!! We will see, and even if it does happen I'm sure it will be fine next week...

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