Why I fell in love with Italy once and forever

Everything is simple about Italy: some people love it, some hate it. There are no indifferent people. I treat myself like the first one. I found myself here accidentally seven years ago and fell in love with a country at first sight and forever. In Italy I love everything! I can say that for sure, because I’ve lived in 10 other countries. It rarely happens like this with a new places. What’s that I love? Read in this funny and true article.

Ivan Kuznetsov
Outdoor editor and journalist from Dolomites and Karelia

First of all, go to Weather Channel or your local weather website or app.

— Or to Ilmeteo.it — Italian main weather website. Check the weather in Palermo, Sicily, for the next two weeks. That’s what I’m talking about! The sun lives in Italy. For example, to my second home country Finland it comes by an accident and on some of their own business.

In Italy, there is not one, but five seas.

There are Adriatic, Ionian, Mediterranean, Tyrrhenian and Ligurian seas. What a beautiful names! All warm. And in a storms during the winter seas looks even better, in my opinion.

The Dolomites called the most beautiful mountains in the world.

That’s true. They are part of the Alps, but they are distinguished from the higher mountains by their “compactness” and closeness to man. If mountaineers climb in the Alps, in the Dolomites people go to the mountains with their babies. I saw it! To learn about the mountains start from this journal. For more infromation go to one of the offical website like, for example, VisitDolomites.com.

I hope you will go with if I say that pizza = Italy.

But there’s delicious Italian pizza, and there’s divine pizza. How to taste the last one? Choose pizzeria in a quiet small village and not touristic places, and make friends with pizzaiolo, which will cook especially for you. I have Luigi and his Baita alla Seiga pizzeria in Lamon. And don’t eat pizza outside of Italy.

Luigi run pizzeria “Baita alla seiga” with his family for more than 50 year now

In Italy, they eat a lot of flour products without getting fat.

How they do that? So I guess… In 2013, while volunteering in an eco-project in the Dolomites, we had a small budget on food — sometimes only pasta and vegetables. We’ve been eating pasta for almost a year! I haven’t added a single gram. (Maybe because I was hiking and cycling almost every day.)

The Italians speak beautifully. But… how… they argue!

There’s no use in telling — you have to hear it. And by the way, regularly arguing with someone on the streets, you can learn the Italian language quite quickly.

In Italy, there is not just an ancient history, but super-ancient.

Take Rome, for example: the city was founded in 753 BC. To understand how old it is, I always remember St. Petersburg, where I was born, which is only 313 years old.

Who says there are many tourists in Venice?

So you may walked the wrong streets. On a map or from the airplane Venice looks like a fish, and tourists walk on its spine. Real travelers explore the head, fins, and tail. Try it next time and check of the official website of the city Veneziaunica.it.

In seven years in Italy I still haven’t been in Rome.

But I was passing through, and I embraced the atmosphere: the toilets in the station are paid. So I will go back to Rome to dispel the first impressions. It’s good to know the city is eternal.

My favorite writer Mariusz Wilk lives close to Naples.

In my interview with him he said, that Naples amazes with the art of street life, no museum can compare. I confirm: I’ve been walking and socks are hanging over your head. Or underpants. Socks or underpants!

Traveling in Italy is better by train.

It is not expensive, comfortable, and adventurous (often late). The network covers the whole country, reaches almost every village. That’s where you should go. Read the article about how to travel in Italy by trains, if you never did it before.

Train station in Milan is the largest in Europe, but in most of the country, like in Feltre in Dolomies, they are small

Compared to the rest of Europe, Italy is cheap at all.

Pizza like Mozzarella for 4,5 euros, bus for 2,5, hostel for 15, B&Bs for 25-30 for a room with a great view. Where else would you see such prices?! Imagine how much it was at the old rate, when Italy had its currency, the lira.

Gucci, Prado, Roberto Cavalli, Valentino, Brioni, Versace…

Italy is fashion paradise, no doubt. I’m not a fan of fashion, but in Italy you can even get into it. And you want to look as stylish as those guys or gals who passed you by.

North and south of Italy are two different countries.

If you didn’t hear about that before, the locals will tell you for sure. But, in my opinion, the temperament is the same. And it’s southern. Watch great movie about these differences, which called “Benvenuti al sud” (“Welcome to the South”).

Finding friends among the Italians is an easy and must-to-do thing.

When you return home you will miss not the sun, sea, Dolomites, language, history, Venice, Rome and Naples, railroads, prices, fashion, temperament, or not even the pizza and other Italian food, but… Giovanni’s smile, Monica’s kisses, and Francesco’s hug.

Or, maybe you will find here another love of your life.

As it happened to me.

Original article in the Russian was published in the travel media Arrivo.ru on June 13, 2016.

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