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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

La Dolce Vita

I love Europe. The thing I enjoy most about being in Europe, aside from the fact that almost everyone you encounter is stunning (especially in Italy...more on that in a moment), the history is rich and the wine is delicious, is the slower pace of life. You can park yourself at a sidewalk cafe and literally watch the world go by for hours on end and be in the company of locals doing the exact same thing. Without a doubt, Europeans place a lot more value on their leisure time than Americans and I have got to tell you, it is so refreshing and more importantly, relaxing to be a part of this lifestyle for a few days.

Appearances matter in Italy. The Italians live by the code bella figura and it is more than just dressing well. It extends to the aura a person projects too. La bella figura represents the Italian concept that you must always look and act your best in every situation. It translates roughly to “beautiful image” and is a central part of Italian culture.

Regardless of their socioeconomic status, Italians are well-dressed and artfully groomed people, and they also seem to naturally move, stand, and sit in a manner that makes them look their best. A task not easily accomplished by this clumsy, fidgety, frumpy feeling, sneaker wearing, only so much room in her suitcase American.

Italians are extremely expressive communicators. Listening to an Italian, or rather watching an Italian communicate is like watching a cartoon. They are wordy, eloquent, emotional, and demonstrative, often using grand over the top facial and hand gestures to prove their point. It's glorious.

Italians love babies and they are very comfortable touching you, baby talking with you, showering you (us) with compliments and even holding you. In fact, our waiter last night showed you off to other diners. It would seem that you have already tapped into your bella figura and are making new friends left and right.

For all of the wonderful things that Italy is, I am so surprised at how touristy and comercialized it has become. I vaguely remember being here with my parents back in 1983, when my father had to see everything Michelangelo; his birth place, homes, schools, tomb and the famous statues he created alike and with that trip, Florence became one of my dad's favorite cities in the world. I think he'd be quite disappointed in today's Florence. The simple charm that once made this city unique has been replaced by graffiti and high-end retail stores. I am hoping during our last days we can find some of that charm by taking a day trip out of the city to visit Pisa and Lucca.

The best is yet to be.



Blogger mamacoreenie said...

I'm sorry that Florence isn't how you remember it but so happy you are having a good time and that LMW is making friends. :) Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2009 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

Of course Lucas is making new friends! How could any of those waiters resist that handsome little mug?! I'm surprised that u are letting them touch him though..haha
I'm glad that you've seen the Florence that everyone thinks about and hopes that it really is. Unfortunately, too many tourists and cheesy commercialization have taken over too many of the world's greatest cities. I hope that you did eventually find some of that charm that you were hoping for.

December 1, 2009 at 8:48 AM  

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