Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ten Things Learned While in Italy (not all inclusive, not necessarily all the most important things to learn)

1. Language: Italian sounds a lot more like French than it does Spanish or Portuguese – but it doesn’t matter because most people speak English in Italy anyways.

2. Wine: Anyone who touts an Italian old school of wine tradition is full of it – wine production didn’t really become as it is until some French guy visited Italy in the 1960’s. Before then, there was wine, but it was mostly what people made for their own families to make themselves “Happy,” after a hard day of share cropping. Also, there is nearly nothing as fun and interesting as a wine tour with a few tipsy Britts.

3. Share Cropping: Apparently, the days of share cropping didn’t end in Italy until the 1960’s.

4. Opportunity Cost: The term “You get what you pay for,” seems to be a misrepresentation – I had some of the best cappuccinos ever for just one Euro. In addition, slave labor effectively built the coliseum which seems to have withstood nearly 2000 years of earthquakes, wars, battles and revolts.

5. Accommodations: The term “Castle,” is both relative and loose in its connotations.

6. Gimme yo money: Referencing #1 – everyone speaks English because everyone you see on the streets of Italy wants your money. It is hard to find an authentic cultural “Taste,” of Italy.

7. Food: Even though everyone will serve you pasta, pasta itself wasn’t a normal part of Italian cuisine (at least, not in Tuscany). Apparently, those in Tuscany only ate Pasta once a week – at the most. Italian bread is not what you think – generally speaking, it is hard and tasteless. It serves as a great base upon which to serve olive oil, however. Another note – you cannot, apparently, bring (cured) sausage from the EU to the US – though, I should have tried as my bags were surprisingly never searched by customs.

8. Travel: There’s no traveling like high-speed rail travelling… except high speed car traveling on a narrow mountainous road where certain drivers are compelled to pass you because they always have somewhere else better to be.

9. Tourism: Tourists really contribute quickly to the downgrading of “sacred sites,” (we helped out) – it’s just a weird juxtaposition to see people worshiping in St. Peter’s Basilica while others are taking pictures of them (because, let’s be honest, it’s kind of weird to bury your prior popes above ground… in a church… that is the mother of all of what you call the true church – and we all want weird pictures) and others are still yet arguing… in loud Italian… about who disrespected who.

10. The One True Church: There is no church but the Catholic Church when you’re looking up churches in any given Italian hotel’s church directory. Don't expect to protest anywhere in the boot country...