Judy and I were watching a cute rom-com set in Italy last night, and it reminded both of us of the romance and reality of Italy, taking us right back to our trip just two months ago. What IS it about Italy that sparks the creative juices of authors and screenwriters (and even bloggers)?
Some of our favorite movies, including “Roman Holiday” and “Only You” feature Italy as a backdrop for love. In “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Eat, Pray, Love” divorcees travel to Italy to find love and themselves. In all these movies, the views are breathtaking, the wine and food are always delicious, the women are beautiful and carefree, and the men are, well, Italian. It’s certainly a romanticized view of the world, but isn’t that the point?
Even “Love & Gelato,” our latest movie-watching selection, featured Roman roads with few, if any, cars, allowing our protagonists to ride their scooters free of danger! On the other hand, it showed some of the seedier sides of the town … the ruins of the ancient city and pollution in the Tiber. As we experienced on our recent trip, crowds are everywhere, the streets are constantly busy, and it’s easier to see the grittiness of the cities and people when you get away from the tourist centers.
And yet …
And yet, the pull of Italy remains. As we watched the movie, we opened a bottle of Montepulciano and toasted the soul of Italy. There IS a sense of “la dolce vita” throughout the country. We ate and drank some of the best food and wine of our lives. Away from the modern cities, cresting a hill brought another painting-worthy vista. The ancient walled cities with their cobblestone and marble streets, stone towers and piazzas are a marvel that can only be appreciated in person.
It doesn’t matter that there’s a souvenir shop on every corner … there’s an equal number of small cafes where you can sit, relax with a glass of wine, and enjoy the sun … la dolce far niente.
We’ll go back to Italy. There’s nowhere else like it in the world, and that’s why millions travel there every year. Italy gets in your soul and never goes away.
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Where are the places that speak to your soul?
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