Earlier in July, an article ran in the New York Times comparing Italy with the United States. The author, Timothy Egan, says that when friends came to visit him in Italy, the conversation would routinely turn to the topic of which country was better:
Inevitably, after a few days of taking in our new world — a village public school for the kids, neighbors who opened the doors of their ancient homes to us, a lengthy siesta every afternoon — our houseguests would side with the Italians. … The Italians won on health, family and food. The United States was better on race and opportunity.
The article itself is only available if you pay a bit extra (which I don’t), so you might have to settle (like I did) for this excerpt. Either way, it’s an interesting and more in-depth look than most people – especially tourists – do when they’re on a moonlit stroll through some medieval walled city during the evening passeggiata during their 10-day Italian vacation.
And while most people who do that kind of dreaming never contemplate moving to Italy, for some the seed is planted at a moment when, let’s face it, they’re not thinking particularly clearly (an evening gelato can have an intoxicating effect, you know) and then, before they know it, they’ve begun thinking about something they really don’t know enough about. In Italy, as with most things, the reality and the dream don’t always resemble each other very well.
I’ve been guilty of over-romanticizing life in Italy a zillion times, and I’m not alone. Which is why, every now and then, it’s good to remember that no one – not even the Italians – live the perfect life. The grass is always greener on the other side, no matter what country you live in. And trying to decide once and for all which country is better is not only impossible, but futile.
Photo by: King Grecko