Here are 10 things I like about living in Italy:
1. Signor Lu. He’s lovely.
2. The people. Generally speaking, the people are nice, interesting and funny. (Naturally there are some exceptions to this.)
3. The food.
4. The food culture. I like:
- the independently-owned bars, restaurants, ice-cream parlours and bakeries
- the celebration of local specialities
- the emphasis on seasonal fruit and vegetables
- the drinking of water
- the moderate consumption of alcohol
- the relative lack of interest in fast food
5. The language.
6. The geography. Lakes, mountains, coastlines, cities big and small – Italy’s got ’em all.
7. The fashion. I am no fashionista and my means are modest but I enjoy looking at what Italian people wear. I enjoy window-shopping too. I have a special weakness for Italian leathergoods – bags and shoes in particular.
8. The bicycles. Despite a glaring lack of cycling paths, and an excess of very narrow roads, people of all ages ride bikes whenever and wherever they can. There is also a sense that public roads are for everyone: scooters, trucks, small cars, buses, bikes, ferrari cars, etc.
9. Simple Pleasures. On warm summer evenings you can take a late-night walk around pretty much any Italian city while eating a delicious gelato.
10. The location. There are so many other interesting countries within easy visiting distance.
I’m not suggesting Italy is perfect, or that there is no yang to all of the yin. Nor am I suggesting that the yin and yang are in harmony. However, for the time being, the above 10 things are helping to keep me here.