“I don’t like Italy too much, but when I go on holiday, I miss it very much.”
We talk with our friend over lunch in Modena. As we have become accustomed, the produce is superb; wonderful olives so full of flavour, buffalo mozzarella with an inside of pure creamy goo, Parma ham, preserved courgettes, bread, and a Gorgonzola Capable of making your eyes water. I opt for tortellini, a dish which has its roots firmly in the local area, its delicious. We also make light work of a hefty bottle of red between us.
I have spent much time on this trip wondering, worrying about finding happiness, and so it’s a relief when I can readily recall the things that make me happy during the conversation; family and friends, music, riding my bike, design and interiors, and of course, food and drink.
I have written about how good it was to arrive in France, with the abundance, and quality, of the produce. To that end, Italy is a sort of France plus plus, with the added bonus of being more at ease, and more playful than the French appear on the surface. It’s undeniable that a smile breaks from the face of an Italian more freely than that of its neighbour, and the fuss made of our daughter is touching.
Our friend seems a little embarrassed as “there’s not much to see in Modena.” I tell him that the colours of the buildings, the cobbled streets, deli shops selling hams and cheeses, tailors’ windows, and the public buildings may be the norm for him, but for us they are a visual treat.
I am not a romantic man, but italy is a romantic, and infectious place. I’m looking forward to spending more time here…..