what being Italian means to me
editorial in florence
july 29th, 2020
Italians. Either you love them or hate them. I've had the privilege of traveling a lot in my life and, wherever I have gone, I have always hidden all those traits that make us Italians so recognizable all around the world. The gestures, for example, or my Montclair in the cold London winters - the equivalent of the hat and boot outside of Texas.
Additionally, I don't identify with the vast majority of today's Italians, who are cartoonish, argumentative, sluggish, disorganized, and often with reason viewed as unreliable. We boast of being descendants of Michelangelo and Leonardo, but abroad we are seen as any kind of Renzi. Instead, I always found reverence and wonder for my homeland abroad. Who's that fool who wouldn't live in Italy? I was questioned. I spent years wondering what could be so unique about Italy.
On the other hand, there are things about Italy that I wouldn't change for anything in the world. The focaccia with cheese, for example, and all the food in general. The month of September with its colors and sunsets. The dinners alfresco in the summer. Above all, that good taste that we as Italians are naturally gifted with. Growing up and living in beauty has trained us to do things beautifully for the sheer pleasure of it. This happens daily in everything. It is not something we've been taught but a gift that comes with being Italians.
As a result, producing beauty is a duty, a responsibility. The goal is to please the human senses, from sight to hearing to taste. From the elegant old ladies at the supermarket to the beautiful shoes produced by shoemakers, you can see everywhere this daily race to beauty. Italians don't simply feed themselves; they enjoy the experience of eating well. Italians not only wear clothes, but thanks to them, they honor the beauty of the places they go. Because we feel we have to.
With this editorial, I just wanted to show what being Italian means to me. That is, to always put beauty first. The natural beauty of two human beings, a beautiful vintage car, on a warm sunset in one of the most beautiful towns in the world. The beauty of classic outfits and fresh flowers, of a table set with precious fabrics and vases.
Producing beauty for the simple pleasure of it. This is the legacy of our famous ancestors, of which we are soaked and only needs to be discovered within us and brought to light.
Beautifully, of course!