I think we would agree that amongst other things (food, fashion, football and the generally good-lookingness of its population), Italy prides itself on having built roads, no? I believe so because I am reminded of it every time my husband and I get into a ‘my country/your country’ debate.
“If it wasn’t for Italy..”, blah blah.. “if it wasn’t for the Romans…” yada yada yada…. YAWN! We have had many a debate about our home countries: mine being cold, his being hot, mine gave The Beatles, his gave Bocelli, they’ve got tagliatelle, we’ve got toad in the hole (does anyone under 100 eat toad in the whole in England?). Now, I know this is slighty clutching at straws but they’ve got Prada, we’ve got Primark. Totally validating this last point given the joy we ladies feel when purchasing a garment from either store! As much as we would all love to be walking around in a Prada puffa jacket with over-sized fur-trimmed hood (usually real fur!), you can’t beat a seasonal splurge at Primark.
What baffles me is if the Romans built all these roads for their troops to get around Europe, why don’t the Italians use them nowadays? This is clearly a huge generalisation but since I’ve been married to an Italian, I have noticed that travelling outside of Italy is not high on the list of priorities for most. Other than the mass exodus to Argentina and America in the 17th century, it seems that most Italians only use “their” roads in “their” country. When I was travelling in South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, I don’t think I met a single Italian person (that was travelling).
A couple of years ago I mentioned to my brother-in-law that he had never visited us in London. His response was “what would I eat?”. He did visit, once. He rather enjoyed himself. That was, until, he asked me if I like Italian food. I do. But I prefer Indian/Mexican/Chinese, anything that’s not based on tomato or cream. He asked me if I liked Italy in general. I do, from what I’ve seen so far. But in terms of “travelling”, I prefer Brazil/Colombia/Thailand, places where I can retell a story. He hasn’t spoken to me since – that was 18 months ago.
According to Fanny Burney (I know, I’d have divorced my mother if she’d have dreamed up that name for me! God forbid if it were back to front!), “traveling is the ruin of all happiness! There’s no looking at a building after seeing Italy”. This might have been true for the English novelist back in the 1700’s but hello, there is a world out there – go explore!
This extreme pride and inane belief in one’s nationality could be because Italy does have a lot going for it; beaches, mountains, lakes, food, wine, style, gorgeous looking people, a to-die-for accent and …ROADS.