La Bella Italia

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This evening – la bella Italia

Italy has its problems – a monster in charge of it, a highly bureaucratic system which sees jobs allocated in a round robin tournament once a year …

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and the constant problem of the boat people:

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The houses might be rundown and ramshackle in many places …

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… and in need of repair:

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… but still magnificent and the people are warm and friendly, more so in Sicily:

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… than in the north:

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Naturally the car plays a large part in Italian life:

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as does the Lambretta or today’s equivalent:

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… not forgetting the bicycle:

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Italian espresso cafe culture is known all over the world and is at it’s nicest al fresco, where the smoking doesn’t choke you:

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Sitting in a basket chair, under the olive tree:

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Meals are often taken outdoors:

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… where the view can be superb and the colours so different to Northern Europe:

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… but a nice home cooked meal can’t be beaten in the hands of a masterchef:

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You shop at the market:

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or on the main corsa:

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In all this, I’d neglected the girls so here are some for your delectation:

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Imagine a very hot day of 40 degrees, now beginning to cool down mid-evening.  Imagine this Hotel, Hotel Failla:

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Imagine the space from this photo [taken during the day from my computer – sorry about the quality but you get the idea], with all the furniture cleared away and an open air opera set up:

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Imagine the girl in the picture right at the top there with you and imagine the view from the hill out over the fairy-lit town down below.  Imagine snacks and drinks throughout the performance.  That’s what I call living.

Finally, to the main girl herself, the one responsible for most of these photos and for the culinary masterpieces – to her, great thanks and to her best friend Simi.

As we fly away, one last look down at Italy:

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Tomorrow, away from Europe [I’ll return in  few days] and it will be Canada.

10 comments for “La Bella Italia

  1. Mo
    January 8, 2010 at 19:57

    Best food in the world, and I’ve eaten in a few continents…

    Mo

  2. January 8, 2010 at 20:36

    I have only visited Italy once and I loved the scenery and views 🙂

  3. January 8, 2010 at 21:24

    I’ve been there twice, it was lovely. Seeing that again and I’m sold. When do we leave?

  4. January 8, 2010 at 22:08

    Strangely I have never visited Italy. I must rectify that

  5. January 10, 2010 at 16:15

    Lived there for a while. I don’t like it very much. The poverty, the run down old towns falling into decline, the chauvinism, the slimy men, the mafioso police and judicial systems corrupt to the eyeballs, the effects of unemployment, the prostitutes on the outskirts of cities and then overhyped Tuscany. Sure it has its moments, views, history and places like anywhere in Europe but the food in Rome, the one city I did like apart from poor old sinking and overpriced and over touristic Venice, utterly sucks. One restaurant got a freaking pizza out of the freezer and microwaved it to our horror. It amazes me how we can view all of its treasures through rose tinted spectacles and forgive it its tremendous faults but never our own country!

  6. January 10, 2010 at 16:48

    Alison, I can’t disagree, particularly in the light of the posts I’ve just done on the Venetians, which explains some of what you’ve encountered. I’d prefer France to live in but that will lose me an Italian friend who reads this blog.

  7. Mo
    January 10, 2010 at 19:56

    I live 30km from the Italian border, and I love Italy – the people are much friendlier than their Gallic neighbours, the food is much better and cheaper, and the Italians, unlike the French, don’t ‘renovate’ their ancient building into oblivion.

    I have freinds who lived in Italy for years, then moved to France, but still shop in Italy.

    Just my thoughts.

    Mo (Male by the way)

  8. January 10, 2010 at 21:28

    Thanks.

  9. alison
    January 11, 2010 at 18:46

    My family live close to Italy in France, near the border, down in Nice. So I get what you mean Mo.

    I dislike French women enormously. Zero sense of humour and constantly skewing themselves towards being girlfriend material which accounts for why they seem so unhappy and have zero sense of humour and don’t seem able to just ‘be’. I find the French rude and snobbish generally. Food and shopping etc vastly overpriced. So in comparison Italy is better on this score.

  10. January 11, 2010 at 18:50

    skewing themselves towards being girlfriend material

    Is that a crime to wish to look after oneself and appeal to the opposite sex, Alison? Some might think it was the way of the world 🙂

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