Our time in Italy is coming to an end. We drive tomorrow to Serina, about three hours away, then fly from Naples to France on Tuesday. We have had a wonderful month here.
What are our lasting and lingering impressions of this country?
- Numerous small villages perched high on the sides of mountaintops, all with either castles or churches at their peak.
- Rome, built on seven hills, with its historic Roman architecture and home to the Vatican.
- Pasta in many more varieties than I have ever heard of, and many impossible to pronounce, but delicious to eat.
- Wood-fired, home-made pizzas with every imaginable pizza topping, even chocolate topping (choice of dark or milk chocolate) for dessert.
- Sweet, creamy homemade gelato (ice cream), in almost every café, in an enormous range of flavours, with cream on top.
- People gesticulating wildly while talking.
- Large groups of men in village squares during the day, and families and children in the early evenings, enjoying socializing with one another.
- The need, or maybe not the need, for a Codice Fiscal for a phone SIM card – we were warned we would need one, but in any event did not.
- The need, or maybe not, for an International Driver’s Licence – we were not warned we would need one, and did, then didn’t.
- People mostly live in apartments, very few in houses.
- The tradition, generally, of pasta for lunch or as a dinner starter, and pizza or meat for dinner, we confused restaurants by our crazy orders.
- Servito or Risparmio – in fuel stations, you can choose to either go in self service lanes, or in be-served lanes, where you pay more for the service, but have your windscreens washed, and no hassles over how to work the credit card machines.
- When ordering a drink, being given platefuls of complimentary antipasto or pastries with coffee.
- A very relaxing, laid back lifestyle, particularly in the villages.
- Friendly, helpful people, especially in the villages outside of the big cities.
- An abundance of historical artifacts, castles and buildings to wander through and enjoy.
Our time in Italy has been relaxed and we are leaving in the knowledge that we will definitely return one day. We can even look back and laugh now, at the first four days, when we experienced the Home Exchange from Hell. More about that in July….