Who knew that spending 9 days in Italy eating, drinking and being merry could be so educational! First of all, I was shocked to see how Italians eat considering none of them are obese. They wake up in the morning and eat pastry with their coffee. For lunch they enjoy a Panini or a Pizza (and I mean an entire 10" pizza!), dinner is a multi-course affair that involves bread, meat, pasta, lots of wine, dessert, and after dinner drinks- yet no one in Italy is obese! It's got to be because of the fresh, homemade food with no preservatives.... either that, or their low stress lives.
Did you know that the average Italian only works 5 hours a day 5 days a week? And the kids go to school at 9 in the morning but are done by 1:30 so they can get home in time for the siesta at 2. They also get a minimum of 6 weeks vacation a year. With that in mind it seems a little crazy that they're constantly on strike. They don't feel that they get paid enough and they want more government help. If I were in their shoes I'd shut my pie hole and enjoy my easy work week and free time. Heck, I might even learn to cook if I had their schedule.
Maybe all that extra free time explains why there are so many street merchants in Italy. And, ironically, the aggressive and obnoxious street merchants hang out around Vatican City. All the other merchants just hang out and let you come to them.
Confession time: because of the chill demeanor of Italians, I thought for sure they were big potheads. Reason being, I kept seeing green- neon crosses hanging in storefronts. A green cross in the states equals a medical marijuana distributor. Boy was I surprised to find out that in Italy a green cross signifies their pharmacy.
During my trip I also realized that Italy is the noisiest darn country on the planet. From Rome to Florence then Sorrento to the quaint towns in Tuscany and even down in the Amalfi Coast - Italy is NOISY! The houses are built right on top of one another, which means lots of people live in a small area...and they all have cars and motorcycles. Add in the tourist traffic: the tour buses, rental cars, rented scooters.... there is never any peace and quiet in Italy.
By the way, walking around in Italy is a challenge too. Not just because of the crowded sidewalks and busy streets but because the cobblestone is very uneven and you're constantly walking up and down hills and up flights of stairs. Note to self: do not go to Italy if you're lazy or have physical challenges and never wear heels if you do vacation there.
I learned that Italians don't know how to make good coffee, which really surprised me. They do make great espresso, mind you, but when it comes to a Cafe Americano (a black coffee) they make an espresso then add a bunch of water. Isn't that crazy?
However, the food in Italy is everything that you'd imagine it would be and then some. For example, I almost put my face in my Eggplant Marinara one night. Oh, and I learned that Bruschetta is pronounced Brew-Sketta and Italians get very irritated when someone mispronounces it.
Have I mentioned how gorgeous the people are there? Even though the men are extremely handsome they look like a bunch of Joe Joe The Dog Faced Boys next to the women. Needless to say, while I was in Italy I never bothered putting on makeup or fixing my hair. There was no point.
I had a blast in Italy. I loved the food, the people, and the scenery, but I'm happy to be home in my quiet house, and in my comfortable bed. OH! How could I forget! They do not have box springs in Italy, just a really hard mattress on top of a wood frame. Bob Lacey would not be happy about that!