Italy: The Top 10 Things I will Miss the Most
For the past three years, my husband and I have been living on Lake Garda in Italy: One of the most beautiful places in the world. A few weeks ago, we learned our time here in Italy is nearly up. Thankfully our next chapter in life isn’t too far away. We are headed to Germany for the next three years! As a matter of fact, we are just 6 hours driving from our home now to where our new home will be in Stuttgart, Germany. *PHEW*
We couldn’t be more thrilled about getting to spend another three years abroad. Even though Germany is so close to Italy, there are many things I will miss dearly about Italy that cannot be replicated anywhere else
ONE – The people: We have made some very close friends while living in Italy: perhaps some of the closest we’ve ever had. A big part of that has been the band I play in – called the Folkin’ A’s. We formed a friend-family as a result of our time together. In addition to our now “framily”, I’ll miss the people in general. Italians are so warm, kind, and helpful. Despite my terrible Italian, everyone is always willing to go out of their way to help.
Some of our “Framily” members
This is our band – the Folkin’ A’s (with Alessandro and Andy)
TWO – The food: I don’t know that this item needs much explanation, but I’ll say a little more. The food in Italy is some of the finest in the entire world, much unlike the Americanized versions found outside of Italy. I’ll miss regional specialties like fresh ravioli with zucca (pumpkin) and sage butter, truffle risotto, osso bucco, tagliata di manzo, and tiramisu. Even if you can find these dishes outside of Italy, they won’t be nearly as good. I also appreciate Italy’s whole food, Mediterranean approach to cuisine. The focus is always on letting simple yet quality ingredients shine. For some authentic Italian recipe ideas, try out Laura’s Famous Tiramisu, Basil Pesto, or Filet Mignon in a Creamy Green Peppercorn Sauce.
THREE – The coffee: Italy has a coffee culture unlike any other country in the world. I’ll miss ordering 1 euro espressos after dinner, always made perfectly. I’ll miss the quality of the coffee and the talent of the baristas. I’ll miss the cappuccinos – they truly taste different everywhere else. I’ll miss the culture of drinking coffee while standing up at a bar, and I’ll even miss the “rule” of never having a cappuccino after 12:00 PM.
FOUR – The wine: I’m a convert. I’ll forever be an Italian wine snob. In the past 3 years, I have rarely ventured away from my Italian wines. When I do, I literally scoff (like a huge snob) at the quality and flavors of wines from other countries, constantly commenting that they aren’t as good as Italian wines. This goes for both reds and whites, although my preference for wine in general is red. I’ve learned SO much about wine over the past 3 years. I’ve visited countless wineries, attended dozens of wine tastings and events, drank hundreds upon hundreds of wines, and befriended many wine makers, distributors, and store owners along the way. I will definitely be making road trips back to Italy to purchase (many) cases of wine to hold me over. Germany’s Rieslings just won’t cut it! And yes, I realize this section made me sound like a huge snob…. I think that’s because I kind of am – haha! Italy has spoiled me forever. For more info on Italian wine, check out my post about the BEST Valpolicella Wineries and Where to Eat and Drink in Barolo (this was a guest post on another blog).
FIVE – The quality ingredients: Yes, this is another food item – but it’s different. I’m not talking about dishes or restaurant experiences here. I’m talking about the highest quality food products that Italy produces which can be found and consumed anywhere in Italy. Namely: extra-virgin olive oil, salami, prosciutto, wine (again), cheeses, grass fed beef, and fresh produce. The quality and control of Italian ingredients is extraordinarily high when compared to other areas of the world, and I’ll miss the accessibility to these ingredients.
SIX – The tradition: Some might suggest Italy needs to “get with the times”. I disagree. Italy is one of the only European countries that has maintained its firm sense of tradition. While many Northern countries have continually evolved, embracing technology and a face-paced lifestyle, Italy has generally maintained its sense of balance, family, and tradition. While this may come with its own set of challenges (try getting your internet set up in a timely fashion – I dare you), it’s something very special and unique about the country. I hope that Italy never loses its sense of tradition.
SEVEN -The all-day eating affairs: When an Italian invites you over for “lunch”, plan accordingly. Lunch usually starts with aperitivo (drinks and snacks) around 11:00 AM. After this, you can pretty much guarantee you’ll be eating and drinking straight up until 6 PM. Soups, salads, more appetizers, pastas, meats, vegetables, desserts, and coffee all follow the initial aperitivo. Nothing is rushed. Conversation and company is the key. Many bottles of wine are shared. There will likely also be shots (don’t actually shoot these) of limoncello or homemade liquor served after everything. This is something very unique to Italy, and something I hope I can one day bring back this tradition to the States/Canada (for readers that don’t know, I’m Canadian, but my husband is American – so we typically live in the States when we’re not living overseas).
One of our all day eating affairs
EIGHT – The diverse geographical landscapes: I’ve never seen a landscape like Italy’s before. One minute, you can be amongst rolling hills, the next may be entirely flat, and the next, you’re in the alps. Typically, you can see every type of landscape within 30-40 minutes driving of anywhere you are. It’s amazing! There are also many lakes in Italy. This affords one with many outdoor activity opportunities!
NINE – Our apartment: Seriously! We have the craziest apartment. It’s huge, it’s in the perfect location, and it is the most bizarre place I’ve ever lived in (by far). The entire house is wall papered or painted in stripes. Each bedroom is painted in a different color of stripes. We have three bathrooms, each of which is color-coded. For example, we have the yellow bathroom. The sink, radiators, tiles, and all accessories are yellow. The same goes for the red bathroom and the blue bathroom. I can safely say we’ll never live anywhere quite like our current apartment.
TEN – The weather: While some may say our weather in Northern Italy is “cold”, I beg to differ. I grew up in Saskatchewan, Canada, where winters reached -50 C. Summers were relatively short and rarely went about 27 or 28 C. I LOVE the weather on Lake Garda. Winters are mild (it’s shocking if the temperature drops below 0 C). Summers are HOT (maybe too hot), but bearable. Since we live on a Lake, this really isn’t a problem, either. Spring is beautiful – and so is Fall, usually sitting around 15-20 C. I feel spoiled.
To be completely honest, I could probably list another 100 things I’ll miss most about Italy, but these were the first that came to my mind. I’m curious: Have you visited or lived in Italy? What did you enjoy most? What will you miss the most? What do you wish you could bring with you?