First thing that hit me getting off the plane in Verona is the synesthesia between the brightness of the sky and the strong smell of manure.
Around me the countryside, at the end of the horizon the mountains: welcome to Veneto.
This word, Veneto, this Region remind me intimate feelings, most of the time battling on: love for my family, boredom, enthusiasm for seeing old friendly faces and places, annoyance, impatience. I am pretty sure that the curse for every person who has decided not to settle down where family is, instead, to move away from the place of origin is that every time you go back you feel again a teenager, and with it a nervous tension that makes you think:
a) “Nothing much changes here, people especially”
b) “I can’t resist staying here anymore than a fistful of days “
c) “How much do I still belong here?”
I think every expat has experienced that.
Along the years I’ve come to an answer for the last burning-in-me question in point c: I do belong to Veneto for the good vibrations that its rich green nature and the smile of people give me, nothing more, so that dramas, a strict sense of belonging and Italian bad behaviours can stay out of my mind, no regrets.
I know, I am not making justice this time describing this wonderful and different every mile land in North Italy: as I say feelings come stronger and lead me.
The region is humid, especially in San Vito di Leguzzano area, where most of my “tribe” is; the cold of February goes straight into the bones, making you shiver all day. A good shelter is the bar, center of every social activity with the main square, where you can sip a lovely not-bloody-expensive-as-abroad cappuccino, have a croissant or tramezzino (the food of the Gods, indeed) and then, while reading the sport or local newspaper and chatting with fellas, it’s time for the aperitivo.
Aperitivo is the excuse number 1 in Veneto not to go straight home after work or to catch up with friends or just the best way to skip dinner!
The most typical and beloved drink in the region is spritz: white wine (Prosecco to be more elegant, either richer), a bit of sparkling water, Aperol or Campari (there are actual differenr political parties/religions about that), everything served with crisps, tramezzini or crunchy toasted bread with sauces, BOOM! The best part of the day, the most genuine character can start and so chats, banters, “I take this. No no no, let me pay this time” discussions and laughters.
Being part of Veneto means that the more you work, the more you celebrate after. Sometimes so much you miss the Sunday ceremony due to hangover. Sorry priest.
Catholicism in the surface, family lunch, devotion for the nature and mountains, passion for food and alcohol, confidence of “same places, people, talks”: this is what I see in Veneto.
Moreover, the main square with a church, a bar or two, the supermarket; and more playgrounds where youngsters meet, old crumbling houses, old people looking outside the window, smell of freshly baked bread.
A great taste in clothes and good looking people conclude the painting.
Do you like this image? Take it or leave it. Or, as I do, take it a weekend, then leave. It can be painful, especially if you leave behind something like this…
If interested: http://www.veneto.to/home