Friday, May 05, 2006

greetings from italy

As my thousands of readers have undoubtedly guessed, I am away from home doing research, this time in Italy, and will be back and posting later next week. To reward anyone who stopped in, here are my absolutely free suggestions for enjoying everyone's favorite country when and if you have the chance to:

1. Go anywhere except Rome, Venice, and Florence, at least for a day or two. Ferrara (where I am now), Padova, or Modena are three good northern choices. Turin is big but wholly different from the rest of Italy, and in the middle of a marvelous region. If you are limited to the big three, just walk until you stop hearing English around you. Anytime except August, that shouldn't be far.

2. Eat dinner late, even if you have to take a nap to do so. The same restaurant that is all Americans at 8:00 will be all Italians at 10:00. Naps for couples are a good idea, anyway, especially if the kids are in another room (or preferably, another country).

3. Forget a phrase book and learn to pronounce three to five words correctly (grazie, prego, scusi) together with the basic rules for saying the names of places (the "o" is always long, the "g" is soft before i and e unless followed by an "h", hard before everything else, and so on). Nobody expects you to speak Italian and they'd probably think you're crazy if you did. But if you pronounce Madonna like the singer, they won't know what you're talking about.

That's all for now, it will be interesting to note if I get any more responses than the usual tax column. In case any search engines miss me, I will insert the words ITALY TOURISM BLOG and see what happens. That's ITALIA BLOG TURISMO, in case anyone missed it.


At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a tax professor who happily accepts the invitation to blog about Italy. My suggestion of a place to visit (other than the "big three") is Bologna, which is not far from either Florence or Venice. Home of the largest European University (I think), it has some nice churches and a beautiful center with some great statues and fountains. Also it is about an hour by train from Ravenna, a nice town with ravishing mosaics from the fifth century. Finally, Bologna was much cheaper than either Florence or Venice.


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