Despite writing consistently about Italy, I have very mixed sentiments toward it. When the hosts of the DolcevitaBloggers Linkup – Kelly, Jasmine and Kristie – asked us to write a love letter to Italy for the February issue, I was very torn and I struggled a lot. What did I come up with? Keep reading to discover it.
beloved and infuriating mother-country…you surely are one of a kind.
I sense your soul in every corner of your ancient land.
I see your superb beauty in every baroque facade embellishing our cities and in every medieval castle perched on the most remote hill.
I hear your melancholic voice in the breeze that blows from the Mediterranean Sea and in the haunting whispers that whistle in the gorges of your high mountains.
I caress your trembling form, letting the sand of your golden coasts slip between my fingers, but I hurt myself trying to grasp the sharp rocks of the Dolomites illuminated by the alpenglow. Your skin is flawless like the one of a baby, yet tough like one of a warrior.
I savour your delectable taste in every homemade meal cooked on a stove, and I quench my thirst with the waters of the mountains’ streams that still run unpolluted.
Italia, cradle and grave of my ancestors. Landing place and point of departure. How many people found solace in your harbours? How many left for good? I wonder if they missed you or if they sighed in relief once they saw your coasts disappear on the horizon.
Italia, dear mother. Too often I don’t sense any affection from you. You transfix me with your severe and judging stare and you blab about “the good old times”. You live too much in the past. You’ve made me feel worthless and inadequate plenty of times. You fuelled my insecurities and my self-doubts, rather than encouraging me. I found mentors only in your history books, but none in the flesh. I’ve felt abandoned and misunderstood, when I most needed your helping hand.
But you’re my mother and no parent is perfect. And you’re so beautiful to me. I’m moved every time I let my sight wander from the Alps to the gulf of Sorrento and from the spires of the Dome of Milan to the ruins of the Palatine hill. Most of all, I have to confess it, I see you reflected in the elegance of my dad and in the contagious laughter of my mama.
I thank you for having nurtured me and for having granted me with a rich family history and a great cultural heritage, but forgive me if I don’t want to repeat your mistakes. Just like all the offspring of the world who swear not to follow in the parents’ footsteps, I’ll treasure your gifts, but I won’t reiterate your faults. I’ll try my best not to.