I am writing my blog today from Monticello Conte Otto, Italy. This little village is about 60 kilometers from Venice near the foothills of the Dolomite Mountain Range in Northern Italy. We are here visiting my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. Yes, they are too far away but what a great place to visit.
I have learned a lot about the Italian culture in the past several days. I thought I would share a few things I’ve discovered that I hope you find interesting:
- There are mostly small, compact cars in Italy with the most prominent brands being Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Pugeot, and Opals. There are many turnabouts, and like the one near the Y in Springfield, you must yield to the left.
- There are a lot of people riding bicycles over here…even old people. They are riding not for a workout but rather for transportation and to carry things from the store to home. Bicycles and cars share the roadways here with bikers hugging the right side. It took some getting used to with cars going by me at 40 miles an hour. I’m not the guy riding my bicycle on Old Jacksonville Road.
- Stores and shops here close between the hours of 2 pm and 5 pm for “Reposo”. Reposo is rest time or nap time. Shop keepers put a sign on their door and are gone for a few hours. Also it is their custom to close totally from August 3 – August 24 for Ferie or “Holiday”. Most Italians go on a vacation which coincides with the Feast of the Assumption on August 15. This approach to business baffles me. This approach to family life and restoration of body, mind, and soul might be the secret to their longevity.
- On the other hand it seems that more people smoke here than I am used to in the States.
- It seems like everyone here has a garden with huge, red, ripe tomatoes.
- Because of the scarcity of land in Italy, most Italians live in apartment buildings that are three or four stories high. They have balconies with many plants and flowers that they carefully attend to.
- Italians treat Americans with kindness and respect for the most part. My daughter and son-in-law are learning the language and try to engage the locals in the Panificio (Sandwich Shop) and Trattoria (Restaurant). Locals appreciate their efforts to speak Italian and help them learn.
- Almost all residences over here are locked, gated, and have storm screens that are lowered at night. I do not think it is because of a high crime rate. Rather, I think Italians like their privacy.
- The Catholic churches here are beyond description. The Renaissance art influence and actual artists add an element that is truly inspiration. There are so many bell towers over here and they ring a lot to remind people to say a little prayer of thanksgiving or a petition or just a prayer of praise. The Catholic Faith is alive and well in Italy.
So tomorrow will be the first day of “tourist” in Italy as we make our way to Venice. I will let you know how that goes. BTW I am trying to recruit a few Italian children to LFS!