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One of my children (American) married into an Italian family. They still have relatives living in Italy. They recently visited. The reason for the visit was to look at some land that no one in the family wants. The owner wants a family member to live on the land. The land is beautiful, but none of the American relatives are willing to move. The families in Italy don't want it. Too much work, too much taxes, so once profitable winery is sitting fallow. Everyone expects the government will take it over soon.

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Hi Daniele,

I will generalize too and say that this cynicism is not only an Italian problem but a west European one. Actually I cannot say for the Spaniards, Portuguese, Scotts and Irish. But as a french man living nowadays in Germany, I can definitely say that we French have that flaw. And my English friends wouldn't deny it when I say they have it too. The Germans have it much less I feel. This is of course very general, my personal American friends are not gullible for everything and many west Europeans are open minded. But some times it's worse than a national sport, it feels like a disease. Still I am all for France and haven't taken the German nationality. Like you, I need to go back there at least once a year to replenish my batteries. But for me it's not that far...

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Oct 30, 2023Liked by Daniele Bolelli

Hi Daniele,

I will generalize too and say that this cynicism is not only an Italian problem but a west European one. Actually I cannot say for the Spaniards, Portuguese, Scotts and Irish. But as a french man living nowadays in Germany, I can definitely say that we French have that flaw. And my English friends wouldn't deny it when I say they have it too. The Germans have it much less I feel. This is of course very general, my personal American friends are not gullible for everything and many west Europeans are open minded. But some times it's worse than a national sport, it feels like a disease. Still I am all for France and haven't taken the German nationality. Like you, I need to go back there at least once a year to replenish my batteries. But for me it's not that far...

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Oct 30, 2023Liked by Daniele Bolelli

Thanks Daniele,

Definitely needed this, I have been feeling like its one of those things where the grass is always greener. Born and raised in the Bay area, I think everyday " I wish our culture was more like Italy's or Spain's". A place where there is not this stigma on pleasure and where the simpler things feel of the highest quality (Friendships, Food, Lifestyle) but I know for me, it would be really hard to not have much of a choice when it came to the other things in life, like forging your own path career wise as that can really determine (at least in part) someones happiness. Another really great read! Grazie daniele!

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Thanks Daniele,

This year I spent three months going up and down Italy for the first time with my wife and kids. It was so magical. I can't explain it. Just looking back, I just remember feeling so happy almost everyday.

In some ways I feel I hit the 'Goldilocks zone' for the length of stay, and I think your post reminded me of that. In three months, we saw much of the country but didn't stay quite long enough to stop feeling like visitors and start to grind up against the headaches you have when you become a resident in a place. The inevitable disenchantment once you get past those breathtaking vistas.

I've been living in Taiwan for ten years (originally from Sydney), and so I know the phases one goes through with the attempted integrating/assimilating process, the 'honeymoon period', the inevitable (partial or total) estrangement, and all the adjusting in between. I've heard of other people who live in Italy longer and get embittered with the other sides of life there, which I guess happens everywhere. Yet for me, all that negative press remains somehow second-hand info to me - in my lived experience, it still felt like a kind of paradiso, although I know of course it is not.

Really great to read nuanced perspectives like yours here. Grazie!

I've got this to offer on descriptions of the food...

If Stalin said "Quantity has a quality all of its own" then food in Italy shows "freshness has a flavor all of its own."

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Danielli. Presently, I’m touring Italy for three weeks with my family. Your recent posts have been especially poignant. Last week I could imagine Putin v Zelenskyy in the Colosseum.

Thanks for this perspective on the country of your birth and its people. This is so well written! I’m looking forward to taking you along for the remainder of the trip.

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Oct 30, 2023Liked by Daniele Bolelli

Since you mentioned Italy, we have a request for a sports-related episode: The epic rivalry between Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali, and what it meant for post-war Italy.

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Oct 30, 2023Liked by Daniele Bolelli

Just subscribed to your Substack after your recent dialogue with DC. (Don't know why I did not earlier) This was worth the subscription right here. Great essay, very powerful. Maybe it just caught me at the right time as I have been thinking about some of these issues recently, but thanks!

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