My love affair with Italy is over 2 decades old. I love so much about the Bel Paese. Sometimes I think I love and miss it more than my husband, who is actually Italian. Don’t get me wrong, he loves his homeland, but misses his family and friends more than the lifestyle, history, art and dolce vita. That’s all me.
I remember my first trip to Italy in 1999 as an exchange student with AFS. I was destined for and spent a year with a family in a small town in Basilicata called Irsina, in the province of Matera, which you’ll hear much, much more about in future posts. However, when we first arrived we stayed in Rome in an old convent. I had little to no knowledge of what was going on to be honest. I didn’t know much Italian and it was the first time I’d been out of the country, not to mention I and the other exchange students I’d traveled with hadn’t slept for probably 24 hours. How could we sleep? We were much too excited to embark upon this amazing adventure and finally meet our host families. So, suffering from jet lag for the first time, up before dawn, I perched myself in the little window of the convent room I was sharing with another student to watch the sun come up on my new “home.”
In my experience, every place you visit will have a particular smell and color to it, especially in the morning. Rome’s color is golden yellow. It’s smell is like rain on hot asphalt, mixed with sweet, flower blossoms. I fell in love with it from the first sunrise and over the course of the year I spent in Italy, it changed my life forever.
Sound a bit dramatic? It’s not. That’s just the way Rome is. The way Italy is. It will capture your senses and change you, in the best ways possible. You will put up with it’s ridiculous bureaucracy and sometimes non-sensical ways (like, dry your hair after your shower or you’ll get a cold and might get pneumonia and die – seriously, this was said to me), because it’s so damn beautiful you will be enchanted beyond words or reason.
I’m not the first person to write such things or wax poetic over the beauty and wonder of Italy, and I am sure I won’t be the last, but I hope to share a bit more of my story with you.
This blog started as a culinary ode to Italy, but I want it to be more. I want to share with you my love for this country, it’s cuisine, it’s history, culture, art and most of all, it’s beautiful people. So, here begins a new chapter of Eat, Prego, Love.
Benvenuti e buon appetito!