Not Your Classic Love Letter to Italy

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.

letter_italy

Dear Italy,

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.


Want to write your love letter to Italy as well? There’s still time! Click the pink badge below and discover how to take part to the Dolcevita bloggers linkup, a wonderful opportunity to catch up with fellow Italophiles!

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34 thoughts on “Not Your Classic Love Letter to Italy

  1. I was so curious what you would write Sara! Now I completely understand how Italians feel about Italy!!!!! I know so well that mother-daughter relationship….everyone who does not know my mother as intimately as I do sees only her sweet side, but nobody other than her can infuriate me with just a look or the tone of her voice. It makes perfect sense to me now how all the Italians view Italy versus how us Italophiles see it! This was beautifully written 🙂 Isn’t it amazing how we can all have such different feelings and experiences with the same country?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fkasara

      Yeah, I LOVE reading all the different perspectives. Truly enlightening!

      Yes, as I said to you on twitter, foreign people often get to see “the performer”, the stage persona, and don’t have the opportunity to get to know “the mother”, which is the side we experience in our everyday life and where she’s lacking, I’m afraid :\

      Like

  2. Wow, your love letter is really beautiful. Nothing on the surface, there. I have a feeling the letters written by the non-Italians will be quite different. I often feel that many Italophiles are very much rah-rah, but I suppose there is a different relationship with a place when it is chosen. I’m someone who can’t help but seeing the flaws, but at least in Italy, there’s a beauty in many of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fkasara

      Grazie mille ❤
      Ah yes, there's definitely a different relationship with a place when it's chosen…it doesn't happen to you, you decide and pick it. I also think, though, that there's always gonna be a special bond with one's mothercountry. Even if you choose another place to live, I think you always feel a special connection with the country where your roots are.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so moving Sara. I was really interested to see what you would write. It’s hard writing about your own country. I would struggle at the moment with the UK! I think your letter has a touch of the ‘Luigi Barzini’ about it. Very beautifully written xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As was already said in the comments from everyone else, I too was very interested to read what you would write. But in the end, so far, the four of us (Kriste, Kelly, you, and I) have written to the exact same person. It’s neat isn’t it?? I’m waiting anxiously for the other posts to go up!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oooh, this is special, poetic and heartfelt.

    As for the content, Italy is long, I’ve come to realise, and not the same in all of its parts as all. What you say about it making you feel inadequate? Sounds very Slovenian and northern, and actually something that felt the most different from my home country after moving to Tuscany. My guess is that in the south they would say something else. As for the middle, and Rome, maybe they wouldn’t say anything at all because they keep looking themselves in a mirror. 😉

    However, this was only one paragraph, and a short one at that. All the rest is why we love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fkasara

      Grazie mille ❤

      No, I fear that thing I mentioned in the post is something that it's pretty common in the whole peninsula. It's not a cultural problem (as I said in the post about humanity some time ago, Italy appreciates when you're down-to-earth and does not really require you to achieve professional steps to be "someone" in society), it's more of a generational problem. Italy suffers of a severe form of gerontocracy and the generations of the 80s and 90s have literally zero value. We are constantly ridiculed and belittled by media, bosses and the "old generation" in general. I'm really bitter, because those youngsters who fought in the '68 for their rights, they are now destroying ours. Not all of them obviously, but many of them. I'm so bitter about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. emptynestmummy

    I found your article really interesting, written by an Italian rather than an Italophile. And I love your vow to treasure her gifts but not to reiterate her faults.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The mother-daughter relationship is so complex. I can see how deep and strong and infuriating your love is for your home country. Italia is my foster mom as I have already said goodbye to Stepmom America and Biological Mama Philippines. I enjoyed reading this!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautifully written and well said. I share a lot of the same feelings as you and you put them into words so well! I remember you saying in a previous post you had a love-hate relationship with Italy, but it seems that for all the “hate” there is an overflow of love 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fkasara

      Thank you very much! ❤❤

      You’re not the first person who says to me that there’s an evident overflow of love in my entries, but I’m not able to judge myself 🙈

      Like

  9. This is great, I haven’t met you yet but I love seeing your authenticity come through here! My favorite line has to be the ending “I’ll treasure your gifts, but I won’t reiterate your faults. I’ll try my best not to.”

    Liked by 1 person

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