Dear Italia

Tesoro, darling,

We’ve been together since 2009 — some nine beautiful years, almost ten. You caught me with those espresso cup eyes and again with gelato — remember you introduced me to the most sinful textures, the most delectable flavors like pistacchio, stracciatella and bacio. In fact, food was always part of our love affair — food and wine. And bikes… do you remember the islands of Sardegna and Sicily, the remarkably steep, wine-soaked hills of Tuscany and Chianti, the sheer wildness of the Dolomites?

No, it’s just gotten to that inevitable point in any relationship… you know the one. Now, all the little things you do are starting to drive me batty like one of those Lamborghinis on the autostrada. The one that’s suddenly up your more inferior car’s tailpipe, flashing its LED lights and honking, no matter if you’ve been in the left lane only 1.3 seconds.

But I must confess, I think the luna di miele — our honeymoon — is finally over. Almost ten years: that’s the longest glow I’ve ever experienced in any relationship thus far. It’s not that the seemingly boundless romance of castles lit up at night in shades of viola ed’oro, sunset walks by the tepid sea and late night, multi-course dinners are completely behind us. Nor is it the fact that you often wear alarmingly tight, white pants; I’ve become accustomed to those. And the Speedo, too. And really, I’m quite fond of how you’re usually the first one to ask the front desk of a hotel for a blow dryer, or of how you spend more time in the bathroom primping than I do.

For starters, I have to ask: why must you always make sure every door of every room is firmly closed? I’m sorry that I can’t quite grasp this seemingly obsessive habit; I’m afraid I simply come from a land where people — gasp — leave doors open. And the bathroom… Of course, keep it sealed when you’re inside; nobody wants to see what happens with that bidet. But why close it even when you’re downstairs making a cappuccino? Yes — I know, the smells. It’s almost as if someone might discover you were… well, human. It certainly doesn’t help that in many bathrooms outside a house, toilet paper and soap are like two rare species of exotic bird no one’s ever seen. But this closed door bagno policy is confusing for the people outside and alarming for the person inside when the handle — always positioned at ear level when roosting on the toilet — is turned forcefully by a desperate outsider with a full bladder. And who can blame them? It’s impossible to tell if anyone’s inside without knocking. And you very rarely knock, I will say.

Senti, tesoro, while we’re tiptoeing up to the theme, I know you’re obsessed with cleanliness. Never mind the planet, if I want to pick out a piece of fruit at the store, I have to use those plastic gloves or I’ll get that look… And dirty feet! Probably just reading those words together in a sentence will give you more goosebumps than a proper scary movie. While we’re on the subject of hygiene, could you please just for once in your life make out with me in the woods after a bike ride and before we’ve both had showers? For goodness sake — we’re both sweaty and covered in dirt; it’s basically like both being clean, it evens out. I know, I know amore — I just got you to go camping with me in a tent. I’m proud of you because I know you’re accustomed to renting one of those wall tents that’s already set up and big as a palazzo. Then you bring your TV and your ironing board, your patio table and chairs; there’s a bar for spritz and Italian breakfast, a volleyball court and showers. A punto — I know you finally agreed to sleep on the ground, too. Piano, piano… one step at a time.

Quindi, I’ve got to run; I’ve got a date — with a spritz! Don’t be jealous, please, we’ve had talks about your jealousy. Yes I do realize you’ve become quite modern but you must admit, amore, it takes you a long time to change your ways. So, believe when I tell you, for the umpteenth time, when I say I have to go to the store for Maille that is literally a type of mustard (which I know is a bit too foreign for your palate, splendido) and not my other boyfriend. And when I’m at the table with De Cecco, I mean that the olive oil I bought on sale at the COOP last week is next to my fork.

I promise to also regale you with all the things I love about you, tesoro. After the next email, that is… you know how I am. If I don’t get all this stuff off my chest I’ll sink like the Titanic. Buona giornata è a presto, caro mio.

Baci,

Sylva




7 Replies to “Dear Italia”

  1. hey tesoro, nicely written, but, what does this mean? a divorce from ” il belpaese”?

    1. Hahaha no no, of course not 😉 Sono ancora innamorata 🙂

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