Specially for Thanksgiving …
A is for art. Art is to Italy what oxygen is to the human blood stream. It’s been estimated that 60% of the world’s art treasures are in Italy.
B is for Bologna — famous for its gastronomy, the world’s first university, established in 1088, and miles of its harmonious renaissance porticoes.
C is for Carnevale—its balls, masks and revelry.
D is for Dante, one of the greatest poets to have ever lived, and father of the world’s most beautiful language.
E is for Empire. The Roman Empire dominated the Western world for nearly four centuries, leaving a lasting legacy of art, architecture, engineering, literature, language and law.
F is for fashion capital of the world. And, let’s not forget the incomparable Ferrari.
G is for Gelato, the ambrosia of the boot and the luscious refreshment of granita.
H is for hand gestures. Hand gestures are to Italian conversation what punctuation is to writing. Italian gestures are a huge part of what makes an Italian, well, an ITALIAN!
I is for the “inner Italian” — that part of us we all share, regardless of ethnicity, which falls in love most easily and is most spontaneous, expressive and joyful.
L is for living La Dolce Vita, a lifestyle aspiration shared by people the world over.
M is for the Mezzogiorno —sunny, sensual Southern Italy, land of the midday sun and the birthplace of the Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil at its foundation
N is Nebbiolo, the iconic grape hailing from Piemonte, and just one of the countless varietals produced from Italy’s unmatched terroir and numerous fertile micro-climates.
O is for Opera, with all its passion, emotion and theatricality . . . which could only have been invented by Italians! 🙂
P for Parma, the ham and cheese capital of the planet (ha!) with its legendary Proscuitto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano as well as a city with an exceptional trove of artistic treasures.
Q is for the Queen Margarita, for whom the margarita pizza was named … and for pizza in general (who could live without it?).
R is for the Renaissance: begun in Florence, and the single greatest intellectual and cultural transformation in world history.
S is for La Serenissima, that place of watery reflections, intrigue, mist and magic.
T is for the Trevi Fountain, Tivoli Gardens and for Roman engineers’ illustrious relationship with water … and all the extraordinary waterworks that grace the Eternal City.
U is for the Uffizi Gallery and its priceless treasury of artistic masterpieces.
V is for the Vatican—its own jurisdiction but nonetheless Italian in, well, spirit.
W is for water buffalo and the creamy rich mozzarella it (she) produces . . . also for wild boar, cinghiale, with its unmistakable savage, almost smoky flavor.
X is for “xitomati” which in Aztec means “plump thing with a navel.” Although no single ingredient conveys Italian cuisine more instantly, the tomato was first cultivated in the New World.
And Z is for Zanni — the clowns of Venice’s Commedia del’Arte. Our word zany comes from Zanni. Nobody represents the spirit of the Zanni better than Roberto Benigni. His very essence invites us to kiss the joy of living, to savoy life’s silly moments, and to embrace our “Inner Italian”.