Friday, 12 June 2015

How I get that Italian feeling, at home

Some of the best Italian novels (in Dutch translation)
In my dreams, I have a little apartment in the old centre of Rome, with the Piazza Navona on walking distance. Every day I would go to the market to get the ingredients for my dinner that evening and I would soak up the Italian atmosphere. In reality I do not live in Italy, but in an apartment in The Netherlands.
So, how do I try to hold on to that Italian feeling here in my own home?
  
Read books by Italian authors, there are so many beautiful books written by Italian authors. Sandro Veronesi, Margaret Mazzantini, Elena Ferrante, Paolo Giordano, Fabio Genovesi, Alessandro d’Avenia and Antonio Pennacchi are just a few. Not all of them are translated into English, but many are.
They have some good thriller writers as well, Roberto Costantini is one of my favorites.

Read about Italy, I have a subscription to a magazine that is devoted to Italy and all things Italian and each time I find it in the post, I take the time in the next days to read it carefully and to enjoy the beautiful photographs.
I also read blogs by people who live in Italy or come there regularly. And I try to familiarize myself with the names and events in Italy, what is happening in Italian politics, who is famous etc.

Listen to Italian music. I have a few cd’s with Italian music, mostly pop, but they also have rock, jazz, and classical Italian music.
And if you want to go really Italian, watch the San Remo music festival J

Cook Italian. The Italian kitchen is more than just spaghetti with tomato sauce. It is versatile and divers and it can be as simple or as complicated as you want. Invest in some good cookbooks and start cooking.
I love my Italian cookbooks and I try out a new recipe regularly. 
My Italian cookbooks
Learn to speak Italian. It is, I think, the most beautiful language in the world. I have been learning Italian for some years now and although I do understand written texts to some extent, I am sorry to say I am not capable of a conversation in Italian. Mainly because I have a beautiful Italian sentence in my head, but it never comes out that way. And I am terrible in grammar, always have been (even in Dutch).
But do not let those things keep you from trying, I continue with my lessons and each visit to Italy I find I am a little bit more fluent.

Surround yourself with souvenirs from Italy. All around my house you can find things I bought when I was in Italy. On my bookshelves you can see the treasure box with shells bought in Florence, the paiting of a cat from Rome and the travertine animals from Rome. On my walls I have paintings and drawing from different Italian cities, the reproduction from the drawing by Rafael I bought in Florence is a real eye-catcher.
Really great are the holiday photographs in my bathroom. It makes going there much more fun, I can assure you! 
Photographs from Rome, Venice and Florence make going here much more fun. 

Try some Italian style. I try to think more before I put on some clothes and when I have my sunglasses and my scarf, wear my hair down and carry a great handbag, I feel just that little bit more Italian and it is great for my self-confidence. 

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