The Grandeur of Being Italian
To be Italian is to be sensual and in love with life; to taste the wine, the sauce, and the abundant food with intimacy. To bask in the colors of an endless sky, to feel the curve of the coastline as if were the outline of a woman’s figure, and to get lost in the moment while exchanging savory moments that embrace the life of an Italian. It’s taking to one’s heart the hypnotic fragrances in the air, observing the ancient skill of a sculptor, or gazing into a Renaissance painting as seen through the eyes, soul, and brushstrokes of the painter. To speak Italian allows one to not just a passion, but a passport into Italy’s Storia and its very soul. The fantasy of living the Italian life is powerfully seductive, but to truly become Italian one must learn the language.
Being Italian is feeling the pain of humanity while embracing the innocence of a child, or reveling in the loyalty and respect of family and friends. It is taking care of your family first, but also providing for the needs of others, even when you feel you have nothing left to give. Sometimes it’s driving a hard bargain because you know that no dog exchanges bones with another. It’s also about the time spent being grateful to share a genetic code that has influenced one of the most fascinating and artistic cultures throughout history. Being Italian means living day to day with inflamed passions often tending to vacillate between voluble romanticism, intensified sensuality, and hard-headed pragmatism. When an Italian woman gets captivated by a man’s charm, it begins with prolonged and intense eye contact as she walks in the beauty that can consciously move the sun and stars.
If you are an Italian, sometimes you have to be willing to forgive — but you never forget. Italians have little or no patience for pain and take vengeance on those who intentionally inflict it — particularly when it comes to the family. They are an extremely proud and determined race and will take care of business “their way” with those who even dare to think of doing them wrong. By nature, they are compelled to enforce the rules of fairness and they can get very angry when they can’t. Their pride and passion belong to a gene pool of toughness and centuries-old legacies. They never grow old. Their footprints of occasional staunch but artful stubbornness precede them, but they are also among the ranks of the world’s great lovers. I thought to myself, now that alone is plenty to be proud of. With that thought in mind, I was mesmerized by the starkness that surrounded the roads as we descended Etna to our final destination. Behold paradise, gaze upon the ancient village of Randazzo!
An excerpt from Layers the novel.
Pride and respect go a long way. Just ask anyone who’s Italian.