I find it difficult to put into words why it is people love Italy so much. There are many reasons why, but there is something visceral that defies definition. I read recently this little bit from Mark Nepo:
I must tell you of an old man I know who came here from Italy. He’s spent his life working as a plumber. He is a good, sweet man, and when he laughs, which is often, he cries, no matter who’s around or whether or not anyone understands. He lives out loud.
“He lives out loud.” A perfect description of one of the reasons people love Italy. They do live out loud. Meaning they live fully, robustly, no holds barred. You see it when they use hands and
voice to talk animatedly. You see it in their passion for food and for wine that is selected to complement food. You see it when all ages walk arm in arm down the street talking intimately with each other, oblivious to everything around them.
One of the nice things about slow travel is that you can observe and appreciate this living out loud. When we aren’t busy bagging sites, we slow down and observe what is going on around us. In the process we see Italians embracing life uninhibitedly.
The difference between Italians and those of us from the U.S. I think is that there is still a reserve in us, a caring about what others think of us, that “be good or else” upbringing we’ve had. These characteristics seems to be absent in Italians. They’ll cry while they laugh regardless of what people think. They live out loud. Great description. What a great way to be!
And in traveling slow we get to enjoy, appreciate, and perhaps even take cues from it. Va benne!
[boilerplate plate = “bsteiner”]