31 July 2011

LIFE: Livin' Easy

SARONNO, Italy – Saronno is quiet. The usual early morning bustle of people walking dogs and going to work has slowed to a trickle, and you don’t need a calendar to know it’s the last day of July in Italy. The Closed for Vacation signs started going up all around town last week as the summer exodus began.
 Trentino, Dolomite Mountains
Corriere della Sera, one of Italy’s leading newspapers, carried an article this morning warning travelers that traffic would be heavy this weekend as an estimated seven million people are expected to be on their way to their much awaited summer vacation. Next weekend will be worse. As the major factories close, Fiat for one, another nine million will hit the road.

Most are headed for the beaches, the Adriatic or the Mediterranean. Both are popular.  Others will head for the mountains.  Others will head south for the beaches of Puglia where the sea is clear and blue, and the food is wonderful, or, Sardinia, or, the islands off of Sicily. 
The Beauty of Puglia
The islands are volcanic and each has a distinctive character. Stomboli is the strangest as it’s two towns are precariously perched beneath a volcano which does, every now and again, erupt. Panarea is tiny, lush and beautiful. Salina has two volcanic peaks, side by side and Lipari has archeological souvenirs of the dozen or so conquers who passed this way. 

The island of Elba, off the Tuscan coast, is both beautiful and big enough to absorb its visitors. On the Adriatic side of Italy the tiny Tremiti islands are popular. Visitors come mostly for the day, leaving the islands quiet and peaceful in the late afternoon. You’d be hard pressed to tell that they have a long history as jail islands, used by the Roman Emperor Augustus (from which the month of August gets its name), and more recently by Mussolini.
Tremiti Islands
While Americans think that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are their God given right, the Italians would add paid vacations to that list. In the classification of paid vacation days worldwide, Italy leads the pack with 42 days per year. France is next with 37, followed by Germany 35, Brazil 34, United Kingdom 28, Canada 26, Korea 25, Japan 25 and the U.S.A. 13 days. 
So as the streets empty, the shops close, the quiet settles on Saronno, it’s a good time to take a deep breath, sit back and relax, read a good book and cook some great food. Sounds like a winner to me.  

For the latest in fashion news, views and now photos from the fashion capital of the world - follow me on twitpic.com/Italianlife


No comments:

Post a Comment