There are places I never imagined I would go and Italy was on that list. While it seemed like a happy pipe dream… it never would have transpired if not for a little magic. And so in kind I am sharing the magic of Italy with you.
1. The land of saints- every town has one or more and the levels of devotion vary greatly. One never knows who will be immortalized in bronze. But every saint we were guided to seek by the locals had some parting wisdom for us to savor. San Francesco taming the wild wolf of Umbria reminds us that power is not inherently good, nor bad. But very much depends on who wields it. San Ubaldo teaches us that the meek may stand against the opposition with faith no matter how mighty his force may seem.
2. My service is not my life- nothing is open all day. Italians take care of themselves first and everybody else second. That means they go home to dinner until 7 or 8 and then come back to serve dinner to you. We all can learn from that. As our lovely guide Sir Vince said they have a life and then they have a shop. So amazing to see a quality of life that is manageable.
3. Diversify – Italians don’t eat pasta outside of Italy. They know that ingredients are important and what makes their cuisine so amazing is unique to them. So when they travel they want local and fresh and unique to you. I think it’s super important to try new things and understand that each place has its magic and it deserves to be celebrated. Bring your open heart to every table ready to try something new.
4. Prepare- every little town is on a hill and though the day might be sunny and bright- the wind can be bone chilling. The streets are steep, most of the towns we visited were labyrinth like and a map was necessary if one had a destination. As for anything in life we prepared mentally and physically for the best of circumstances but also for the worst. And most importantly we must always leave room for life to direct us as she chooses.
5. Clear your plate. One does not go into the next round of food with anything on your plate. Savor it, enjoy it and be done with eat. Each course is meant to be enjoyed on its own and we should not drag the expectations, weight, flavors of the previous course into the next phase of being.
6. Savor life- as our tour guide through Perugina suggested – what is the point of chocolate if not to eat? Take things as they are meant to be, as they are destined to be and embrace them whole heartedly. Light that decorative candle, open that fabulous wine, eat the cupcake that is made with love. Things are made to be enjoyed. Life is made to be enjoyed.
7. San Ubaldo’s farts- always keep your sense of humor. While spring in Italy can be unpredictable it’s never too bad when one has a sense of humor. When the winds of Gubbio came rushing down the hill and chilled us to the bone, we joked that they were San Ubaldos farts. Very suddenly these icy winds went from irritating to hilarious.
Thank you to Italy and all its magic.