I find it difficult to put into words why it is people love Italy so much. There are many reasons why, but there is something visceral that defies definition. I read recently this little bit from Mark Nepo:
I must tell you of an old man I know who came here from Italy. He’s spent his life working as a plumber. He is a good, sweet man, and when he laughs, which is often, he cries, no matter who’s around or whether or not anyone understands. He lives out loud.
“He lives out loud.” What a perfect description of one of the reasons people love Italy. Italians do live out loud. Meaning they live fully, robustly, no holds barred. You see it when they use hands and voice to talk animatedly. You see it in their passion for food and for wine that is selected to complement food. You see it when all ages walk arm-in-arm down the street talking intimately with each other, oblivious to everything around them.
We in the U.S. carry with us a good bit of that Puritan ethic that so many of our founding mothers and fathers brought over the sea with them. We are an outgoing people and it is one of the things other cultures find both enjoyable and annoying about us. The difference between Italians and us I think is that there is still a reserve in us, a caring about what others think of us, that “be good or else” upbringing we’ve had. These characteristics seems to be absent in Italians. They’ll cry while they laugh regardless of what people think. They live out loud. Great description. What a great way to be!