Recently, Husband and I were lucky enough to take a trip to Italy. Fortunately, Grandma agreed to take stellar care of Ben so that we could have a nice trip in honor of our anniversary and birthdays. I have been to Italy a couple of times before (yes, I do find myself lucky!), but it was Husband’s first trip and there are few things I love to do more than travel. As a grown-up, I noticed that Italy does certain things better than other places. Even though the economy is in the pooper, here are some things that Italy is doing right:
- Food. Italian food is always and will forever be amazing. They do things with the humble zucchini that I can’t imagine. Tomatoes? Amazing. Don’t get me started on gelato. Holy cow.
- Really old stuff. Husband and I invent imaginary pass-times for the various cities that we visit based upon what we see. Paris’s motto is, “Hey, I’m bored. Wanna go build a cathedral?” D.C.’s is, “Hey, I’m bored. Wanna go build a monument?” All of Italy’s solution to boredom is, “Wanna go find some really old stuff?” I love walking down the street in Rome, turning my head and, “Oh hey! This is the spot where Caesar was killed.” You can’t see that on the streets of D.C.
- Water fountains. When I went to London and Paris with school over spring break, I was perpetually dehydrated. There were no water fountains anywhere. However, Italy had an abundance of water fountains everywhere. At first, Husband and I were a little nervous getting water from the fountains in Pompei. They did say that the fountains used to be supplied by lead pipes. We didn’t quite relish the idea of getting lead poisoning, but we chanced it and filled up our water bottles everywhere. Fantastico! We didn’t have to buy bottled water for one bazillion Euro.
- Parenting. I love the French, but French children are practically feral. French parents are cool and let their kids “explore” and learn for themselves. This leads to children that remind me of mildly tame squirrels. Italians, however, are very hands-on, which I totally appreciated. Even the dads are all about their kids. One Sunday morning, Husband and I sat on a park bench in Trastevere in Rome and we watched kids and their dads play in the park. The moms must have all been home making Sunday lunch, but it was adorable to see the dads swinging their kids up into the air and giving them big kisses. Very endearing. Italy, you’re dong it right.
- Weather. While it was hot and humid, I prefer heat and humidity to cold and darkness. ‘Nough said.
Italy does other great things, but these are some instances that stick out. Later, I will report on the running in Sorrento, Rome, and Florence and present some tips to future Italian adventurers. Hooray for la dolce vita!