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Thoughts on Italy

Monday, August 23, 2004
If my syntax is a bit strange at times, or there are typos, it is probably because European keyboards a different from American ones. What can you do.

This is my first trip to Europe, so I will avoid comparisons with any other country on the Continent. This is a remarkably beautiful and well-ordered country with an absurd number of historical monuments. So far I have seen Rome, Naples, Florence and Turin. Each has been profoundly different, at least from what I can tell in very brief stays. I must confess that I have only hit the major tourist traps at each locale, so I can't claim any deep knowledge. But a week in which you can see St Peter's, the Vatican, the Forum, a fifth-century neighborhood, Brunelleschi's dome, the Uffezi, and the FIAT building (okay, so Turin isn't as nice) can be described as a very pleasant time.

I won't bore you with a list of monuments- they're in every art history book. I will tell you that this is a very easy (although expensive) place to be a tourist. In most of the principal towns a smattering of Italian will do, and the mass transit system only reinforces my suspicions about the U.S. transportation system. The food is good too (duh).

Politically, I don't have much to say. There has been a lot of attention devoted to the Olympics, of course. They are also very interested in Iraq- the recent Najaf events dominated the news for days. My brief scanning of U.S. papers saw a comparable amount of attention of the swiftboat stuff. Can someone please explain what is going on at home? On the whole there is no visceral anti-American sentiment, which is nice. But I can expect what would happen if I were to engage in a conversation starting with "So what do you think of Bush?" Actually, if I get the chance, I think I'll do just that. As long as my wife isn't looking.


P.S. Italian coffee tastes like turpentine.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 4:20 PM
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