Ahh Italia, il bel paese (the beautiful country). It’s the central hub of art, passion and ancient wonders that make the country one of the most desirable places for travelling.
If you’ve ever travelled to Italy or met a true Italian, you know what I mean when I say the country is based on a strong foundation of passion and hard work.
First of all, almost everything is done by hand and has no feel of large-scale industrialism, which is wonderfully refreshing in the land of Target, Ikea and Walmart over in ‘Murica territory.
You can marvel all day at Il Davide or The David, in the Accademia di Belli Arti in Florence and wonder how the heck anyone in any century could’ve created a piece of art as grand and detailed as some guy (Michelangelo) from the 16th century did.
Or marvel at the fact that Italy has only been a unified country since 1861, almost 100 years younger than America and has so much ancient history!
If you make the trip down to Taormina in Sicily, you’ll find evidence of ancient greek ruins and much more that show the cultural influences of other past civilizations that have left their mark on the Sicilian cuisine, lifestyle and dialect.
Perhaps the most marvel-worthy wonder is, the food (il cibo). The most important thing to know about Italian cooking is that it’s regional. There is no universal spaghetti with meatballs in Italy. Each region has specialized dishes based on the ingredients most easily found in that specific region. For example, in the Toscana (Tuscan) region, the bread is made without salt. This is because you usually eat salty cold cuts with the bread, and instead of over-salting, the Tuscans have grown accustomed to the tradition of salt-free bread.
In addition to regional dishes there are regional liqueurs and wines. One of the most famous liqueurs is Limoncello, a lemon-flavored liqueur, most commonly found in the Southern town of Sorrento in the region of Campania.
It’s not hard to see why Italy is easily to fall in love with; the culture, the food, the history…it’s all wonderful. But, I think the take away point is carry on your life with purpose. If you set out to make dinner, dammnit, you make that dinner with all of your heart. If you want to be a writer, pour your emotions out and write every day.
Most importantly, don’t let your passions slip away. Do things every day that make you happy. For me, happiness is good food, good music and a good environment. So, I hope you all can find what makes you happy, so that you can go on to live the balanced life you deserve, with the ones that you love.
“There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the passion of life.”