Six Things I won’t miss about Italy


The Carabinieri.

Carabinieri creeping in the center of town in Amalfi.

Though I love to abide by the law most of the time, I feel that the military police in Italy take things one step too far. I’ve been slapped, randomly searched and verbally harassed by these overstaffed lunatics. Hell, I even dedicated an entire album of pictures to the police and Carabinieri. It’s not even that I was doing anything wrong when these things happened either. One time I was just walking down the street minding my own business waiting for a bus and the other time I was warning a friend. Don’t let that scene from the awful “Angels and Demons” movie with Tom Hanks where he is outside Santa Maria della Vittoria aftermath fire deceive you into thinking that the Carabinieri are nice. In the film, Hanks says something like, “You can take me back to the Vatican or you can act like real cops!” Just as an aside, if you say that here, you will probably go to jail or get hit.

Vespa bikes driving by my apartment.

These bikes are faster and louder than you might think.

It seems that nearly everyone in Italy owns a Vespa. It also seems that every one of them drives down via Orologio Vecchio 34 (my apartment in Italy) and past other apartments at alarming speeds and simultaneously interrupting conversations. It doesn’t matter who the conversation is with or who is talking, even the time of day doesn’t matter. A Vespa is bound to drive by with a motor so loud that any conversation you were having would be drowned out like the cheer of a Yankee fan at Fenway park.

The coffee.
Don’t get me wrong, Italian coffee is among the best in the world, but its never enough. The portion size is too small and somehow ordering a caffe Americano here seems sacrilegious. So I stick to my cappuccino or caffe shakerato, which is essentially an iced coffee. I did really enjoy the coffee in Italy, though. I had a very hard time accepting that I drank my last cappuccino at Roma Fiumcino Airport just eight days ago. If I could have this coffee every day, I’d be happy. Yes, I want the best of both worlds. Yes, I know its not possible until I open an Italian Caffe later in life. Or maybe I should just move back there. Anyway, I had a taste of Dunkin Donuts coffee in Spain a couple of weeks ago and it made me just want it even more.

Unreliability of Trenitalia.

Trenitalia owns this image.

I haven’t had many problems with Trenitalia, but when I have, its been trip-altering. Relying on public transportation for four months is no simple task. There are schedules to adhere to, inconveniences to be made, and knowledge to be mastered. It takes great effort and patience to understand the plethora of transportation systems available in Italy. You learn to slow your pace. It’s not like America where you can drive everywhere. Public transport is so cheap, it’s better to take it. Sure, an hour-long car ride might turn into a two hour train, but that’s why we have books and friends so we never get bored of our ridiculously long journeys. When I went to Assisi last month, I mentioned that I got on the wrong train and I did. Just be prepared to accept that it will happen sometimes. Know what you are getting yourself into when you come to another country with public transportation. Plan ahead.

The lack of dryers.

Ok, this might sound stupid, but I can’t wait to use a dryer again. I love Italy and I love living here, but I don’t love the condition of my clothes right now. My polos have gotten longer, as have my pants. The waist on each has expanded too much. Once perfectly fitting clothing now looks as if it was meant for Andre the Giant. Spend four months in Italy and tell me you don’t miss your dryer. I dare you. See Italians are not keen on high electrical costs mostly because the price for electricity is so high. Good-bye drying rack, hello dryer.

Who doesn’t have a dryer? How do Italian clothes stay in great condition? Dryers are certainly one luxury I will never take for granted again. I mean I can do without a Smartphone and WiFi 24/7 especially if it meant owning a dryer and not having to worry about the cost of use.

Duomo or plural, duomi.

Milan's Duomo.

Milan’s Duomo.

The Italian word for translates as the most important cathedral in a town. Duomi are where the pope or archbishop would stay if they visited one of these towns. They often have large domes and take the shape of a cross with chapels on either side of the church. You can’t visit most towns in Italy without seeing or visiting the duomo, you just can’t. It would be sanctimonious. Most duomi follow the same layout and architecture and most took five centuries to build. I was in Como to see my last duomo recently and I thought about how the external facade of every duomo is similar, as are the frescoes inside the cathedral. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy I got to see them, but I have had enough of them for a while.

That’s all. Six things I won’t miss about Italy. Stay tuned for my next post, five things I will miss about Italy.

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