Sample Chapter from Italian Pride: 101 Reasons to be Proud You’re Italian
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The very word runs off the tongue like a poem: amore, a word that stirs the Italian soul and conjures up visions of life’s possibilities. Socrates said that “the life which is unexamined is not worth living,” but for Italians, it is a life without love that is the life not worth living. Without amore life is a thin gruel of getting and spending, a succession of repetitive days and nights without purpose or point. But with it-Ah, with it-the stars take on a shimmering gleam, the days pulse with sunlight and hope, the lovers transcend the workaday world immersed in the magic of communion and the marriage of two souls.
Why is this passion for love and life so Italian? The Mediterranean climate? The elaborate courtship rituals that have developed between young men and women in the small hill towns of the country? The veneration of women that seems imprinted on the Italian male soul? The intense verbal passion that is the essence of Italian family life? Whatever the reason there is no question that Italy is a synonym for romance and the very air of the country resonates with the music of love. Mention Venice and what comes to mind but a gondolier serenading two lovers under the moonlight? Honeymooners flock to the Isle of Capri like pilgrims seeking a miracle, and surely there are more bridal shops in Naples than in any other city in the world.
For Italians, amore sustains life itself. There is no such thing as a halfhearted love. One succumbs completely to Cupid’s lure, and life without the loved one present results in unbearable loneliness.
In music, in art, in poetry, and in mythology and folktales, Italians have always been in love with love. The Greeks called her Aphrodite, but the Romans gave us Venus, the goddess of love, whom we can visualize as the Renaissance artist Botticelli painted her, emerging from a seashell in all of her naked splendor, the epitome of feminine beauty. The painting, Birth of Venus, which hangs in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, takes your breath away as you pass it because you know that in Italy, you too will fall under the goddess’s spell.