My Favorite (Italian) Things
When Maria sings about her favorite things in The Sound of Music, it’s a marvel nothing on her list is Italian…especially considering how close Austria is to Italy. So, I’ve made up my own list. Well, it’s a number of mini-lists, really. I’ve limited it to 5 items per category (in no particular order) lest I begin cataloging everything in this glorious country.
(Unsurprisingly, Italy has the greatest number of traditional specialties protected by EU laws.)
- Pecorino Romano & Pecorino Toscano, Mozzarella di Bufala, Parmigiano Romano, Grana Padana, and pretty much all other formaggio…especially ones aged in a Barolo or whiskey
- Anything all’Amatriciana (Pizza? Spaghetti? Bucatini? Yum!)
- Amaretti, Pastiera Napoletana, Ciambellone
- Pasta (Is it cheating by naming something so broad? I can’t choose one!)
- Carnevale (Just go already.)
- Cantine Aperte. (You may or may not have heard of this. But if you like wine…. Look. It. Up.)
- Festa della Donna (I mean, it’s a festival for women. How do you not like all your male acquaintances sending you well wishes and giving you flowers and buying you treats?)
- Any summer music series (Music on the Rocks happens in Positano. Music on a summer’s eve, by the water, with drinks? Yes, please!)
- Fiere del Cioccolato (Who doesn’t love walking around a piazza filled with chocolate everything?)
(Hey, a girl can dream about surrounding herself with nice things.)
- Italians close the shutters every night and open them every morning. Just like in the movies.
- There could be a preserved archaeological site in the middle of a busy intersection and nobody would know its name. In Rome, for example, there’s a little site in the Largo di Torre Argentina area that we all just call “sito,” or “site.”
- Cambio di Stagione. (Change of Season.) Italians dress according to the seasons. A winter coat is worn in winter even if it’s a warmer February day. Late March, you’ll see young tourists in teeny dresses while the locals are still in boots and jackets. A friend of mine who lives in Florence says she knows “Spring is coming because all the American girls have started wearing short skirts.”
- The 1st Class coaches on Le Frecce lines have a beverage and snack service, complete with moist towelettes…but nobody ever picks up the trash…even if the beverage cart comes by a second time. And a third. Gotta love Trenitalia.
- Cooking isn’t cooking unless you’re generous with the olive oil. Emphasis on generous.
As you probably suspect, I’m writing this post because I miss Italy. Yes, thinking through these things does make me feel some connection. Italia, I will always find my way back to you.