Grazie Di Tutto, Italia.

by Englishman 14 Replies latest jw friends

  • Englishman

    Hi Everyone!

    Well, after a wonderful week in Italy, it’s back to reality. I will soon post some pics of the wonderful things that Christina and I saw during our stay. We’ve toured Sorrento, walked the streets of Pompeii, taken the chair-lift to the top of the Isle of Capri, scoured the unbelievable beauty of the Amalfi Coast, and , yes, stood on the edge of the volcanic crater of Mount Vesuvius that threatens the lives of 3 million people in Naples. It erupts normally about every 20 years or so, but it hasn’t had a blow since 1944, so a big one is expected soon.

    The wine and food are outstanding, but for me, it is the Italian people who make Italy such an incredible place to be. They live totally in the present. They drive their vehicles in an appallingly dangerous manner that has to be seen to be believed. 3 persons on 1 motorcycle, fathers driving with a baby on their lap, huge coaches teetering over sheer drops as they make 3 point turns on hairpin bends with 1000 feet to fall.

    However, they must be one of the most genuine people on the planet. Helpful to an incredible degree, they smile as soon as one attempts to speak a few words of Italian. On Sunday we ventured into the Catholic church in Amalfi, this was during the service too, but no-one was at all put out as we Brits explored around the edges of the great cathedral as the service continued.

    One thing I learned about Italians is that they have their priorities in the correct order. Here’s how it was explained to me by a resident of the country:

    1. Family.
    2. Campania. (The region of Italy in which we stayed.)
    3. Italy.
    4. Their religion.

    What do you think? I think that they have it right. Family first, then their local area, next their country and finally the Catholic church. No wonder their kids are so secure!


  • dmouse

    Hey! Welcome back Englishman!

    Glad you had a great time.

    Putting family and friends first is my religion.

  • Prisca

    That sounds about right. Although you forgot that they regard Italy as the best country in the world, and everything not Italian is vastly inferior. They don't embrace multiculturalism like we might. They don't see the need to travel to other countries as much as we might, unless it's for business or to visit family.

    I've been to Italy twice and I love the place. I'd love to see more of it someday.

  • ozziepost

    Many thanks, Eman, for the postcard. We love it!

    Interesting that you and Christina could still 'sight-see' the Cathedral without having to be permitted. I guess you weren't 'theocratically' dressed either, eh?

    Have a great time you too. We're sure you will. Wish we were there too. Enjoy!


    "If our hopes for peace are placed in the hands of imperfect people, they are bound to evaporate."

    - Ron Hutchcraft Surviving the Storms of Stress

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas


  • Dutchie

    Good to hear of your fabulous vacation. Also interesting to hear that your wife's name is Christina. I must say though that I like it when you refer to her as "Your Ladyship". So British!

  • Abaddon

    I had a wonderful holiday in Sorrento about, oh, another lifetime ago (I went to the local meeting!). I saw Positano, Amalfi, Herculaneum (as opposed to Pompeii), Capri... as you say, it's an incredable part of the world, with a people as stunning as the scenery. The stablimenti at the foot of the cliffs, the way everyone, from age 0 and up, seem to go on a promenade in the evening, the aliscafi cutting accross the Bay of Naples.

    If life had worked out slightly differently, and my parents had stayed in Italy when they found out I was on the way, I'd have grown up there.

  • Englishman


    I left out Positano from my account, yes, we went there too, we saw where Gina Lollabrigida (La Lollo) used to live, almost opposite from Rex Harrisons villa.


  • hillary_step


    Welcome back.

    We were so pleased to hear that you had such a wonderful and exciting time.

    Your list of Italian priorities is interesting, though there should be a (1a)FOOD.

    Mussolini said you could never get an Italian soldier to fight with any sort of commitment unless he was defending his kitchen...

    Good to have you back - HS

  • Pete2

    Hey Englishman,

    I have to agree -- family seems to be paramount to Italians. Although, I think it can be dysfunctional at times -- you know, what is spoken and what is left unspoken. Control, loyalty, guilt. I was told that children are expected to live with their parents until they marry -- so, for many gay Italians they remain with their parents without ever telling their parents "I'm gay." And it seems that the parents like having their children (especially sons) living with them throughout the parents lives. (For example, filmmaker-writer Pier Paolo Passolini who lived with his mother and unmarried sister until he was murdered at 53.)

    Yes, Sorrento is a beautiful place, the Isle of Capri. I remember going to Sorrento in the off season and there was absolutely nobody there. Then, one time while staying in Naples I took a crowded train down on a friday night and it seemed to be the recreational thing for many poor Italians to do -- ride the train to Sorrento and stroll, window shop and eat gelatto while cruising the main street.

    The thing about Pompeii is that it was destroyed in 79 A.D. -- nine years after the destruction of Jerusalem. Walking the ancient streets, seeing the buildings, the coliseum -- I really felt connected to that time period. BTW, most of the frescos, sculpture, mosaics, etc., are in the Naples Museum. So, if you see Pompeii you really need to see the museum.

    The Catholic Church seemed to me to still be a powerful force in Italy -- especially among older Italians. I can recall when, as a JW, I would have been horrified walking into a "pagan" Catholic Church. But seeing the Vatican is a definite must if you go to Rome. Incredible sculpture and art everywhere. (Sure, if you take the little side trip through some of the Vatican museums -- you gotta wonder, just how many pieces of the "original cross," now embellished with jewels and gold, can there be?) The Sistine Chapel? arrive early.

    I love Rome and found it to be a very international city -- many Africans and Asians there. And of course, there is Florence with it's Uffizi Gallery, Michelangelo's "David" and fantastic architecture. Venice, fantastic, you should visit Peggy Guggenheim's gallery.

    And, as HS said, they love their food! It's an art.

    Yes, Italians love their country and their history -- but I never found them to be as condescending and rude as the French in Paris.

    My son and I will be visiting Italy and Greece again during his winter break -- any suggestions about places to see?

    Gotta run,
    Love, Pete

    Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
    mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
    che la diritta via era smarrita.

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