Italian cities top worldwide vacation spots
Travel and Leisure magazine has published its results for the world’s best vacation destinations as voted by readers. Florence is the number 1 destination, Rome number 2. Other top destinations include Siena and Venice. I started writing View Italy upon my definitive return to the US after 20 years in Italy. Once over the initial culture shock of how things are today and what I remembered as a 20 year old, I recognized that some of the basic changes in US lifestyle irked me quite a bit. Since I had already been through the process of immigration and culture shock when I first went to Italy I knew it was extremely important for me to understand the things that bothered me and find other things that were positive.
I began analyzing the good, the bad and the ugly of each country, hopefully without prejudice. As this process continued I recognized that while there are significant differences in the cultural basis the individuals that make up the bulk of our nation are very similar to the people of Italy. We want a job, we want to make enough money to get to the end of the month without fretting, we want relative assurance that our future will be as good or better than the past, we want to spend time with our family, and we want to look good.
The differences come from the structure of our governments. While the US is “by, of, and for the corporation”, Europeans have taken an attitude that government is “by, of and for We the People.”
Governments and legislation reflect the underlying values of the nation they represent. When beautiful works are part of daily life, it becomes a respectable occupation to be an artist and government reflects this appreciation for the humanities. Thousands of years of history become part of a people and the moment of a generation is melded into a greater pool of experiences. An analogy could be that the US is a teenager in puberty buying a Girls Gone Wild DVD. His thoughts are to have as many sexual experiences as possible, to consume and move on. The European cultures could be a forty year-old who has learned that gratification is not in the number of encounters instead, that the greatest and most satisfying experiences are built and developed, yes, quality over quantity.
Why does this have anything to do with our affection for Italy as a vacation destination?
Italian legislation controls false advertising by companies a bit better than US legislation. This results in a more informed consumer and limits corporation's capabilities to knock out the qualified artisans. So you can find owner operated stores, farms, and shops. Although Italians often work long hours there is also an understanding that all work and no family, results in a very bleak future for our kids.
Do not think that I am advocating that everything is perfect in Italy. Italy has just as many problems as any other advanced western culture, just that we see, during our vacations in Italy, things that we are missing from our current US lifestyle. Obviously we yearn for these things, even just for a certain period of time, happy to return home to the lives we know so well.
Balance is the key to a happy life. We have some marvelous things here in the US, other countries offer different, but just as fabulous, opportunities to live a balanced life. So splurge and pamper yourself. Take a vacation. Rejuvenate your body and soul. You will be glad you did and may find some little things you can do to make your current lifestyle even more enjoyable.
Tags: Florence Italian Resorts Italian Wineries Food and Wine Italian Vacations Rome Italian Culture Italy Travel