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Fabrizio
March 11th, 2010, 09:54 AM
This piece about the authours experience at the Florence airport appears in today's NYTimes.

There is a lot of wisdom in this article. Unfortunately the authour does not mention that planes come in for a landing in what seems like just a few feet over the main highway into the city. It's quite something... a miracle all has gone well so far.

I've never experienced the "technical glitches" he has... infact I find the airport actually rather civil... like it's 1975 again. Or maybe 1938.



Florentine Choices

By ROGER COHEN
Published: March 11, 2010

FLORENCE, ITALY — I actually got nostalgic for U.S. air travel. I did. It felt weird, like pining for root-canal treatment, and it happened right here in the city of Michelangelo.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Italy. I lived here for a while and learned how beauty is the consolation of every past empire. I learned how style can be deployed as a shield against disappointment. I learned that change can be overrated.

Florence Airport doesn’t seem to have changed much since my uncle, Captain Bert Cohen of the 6th South African Armored Division, hitched a ride here in 1944 after battling up Italy with the U.S. Army. On leave, he went onto the runway and stuck out his thumb. A pilot offered a ride to “bomb the Brenner.” He opted to go to Naples.

Makeshift is how I’d describe the feel of the “airport,” as if a few boxy pre-fabricated units were offloaded from a truck a few decades ago and thrown together.

The temporary has fossilized. This happens in Italy. Things have a way of not getting done. When I lived in Rome in the 1980s, there was much talk of a Naples subway. A tunnel was bored 12 meters into a hillside for a few gazillion lire. It never went much further.

In the U.S. culture of achievement, efficiency and logic are prized. In the Italian culture of aesthetics, the artful scam has its place. America acts in the belief that life is linear and leads to the realization of goals. Italy idles in the belief that life is circular and objectives an illusory distraction from pleasure.

I reached Florence Airport at around 6 a.m. Florentines are smart. At some point, perhaps 1984, one of them must have said: “Hey, we live in a tourist town. First impressions matter. There’s this new thing called a jet bridge. Let’s build a few so that planes can actually park at the terminal!”

But the thing about change is it’s disruptive. If you have jet bridges, what about the guys employed to drive buses a distance of seven meters out to the planes?

I call this Italy’s “Straits of Messina Phenomenon.” When I lived in Rome there was also much discussion about building a bridge to connect Sicily to the mainland. Plans were drawn up. But then what would have happened to the guys who operate the ferries? End of story.

Creative churn, America’s staple diet (unless you’re too big to fail), is not the Italian way. Sensual stasis is.

I made my way through Florence Airport to discover that it has a (strict) one-piece-of-hand-luggage, belts-off, shoes-on, toiletries-out, laptop-out, watch-off approach to security. I’ve wondered about this. You’d think security would be a one-size-fits-all thing. If the objective is shared, shouldn’t the methods be? But I know other airports with a two-piece, belts-on, shoes-off, toiletries-in, laptop-in, watch-on practice.

No other airport I know, however, has a plastic-trays drought. Florence does.

We got loaded onto a bus after a modest delay. There we stood. The temperature was sub-zero. An engine was chugging but not delivering heat. After a half-hour, we were informed of a “small technical problem” and returned to the terminal.

Twenty minutes later, a beaming agent — “Tutto a posto!” — “Everything resolved!” — led us back onto the bus. Same routine: People were losing sensation in their toes before the announcement of a second “small technical problem.”

Back to the terminal; then back to the bus a third time. Same routine (deep chill yielding to frostbite), before cancelation and delivery by bus (it moves!) to “Arrivals” 10 meters away, to collect bags and return to the check-in hall — where a scene from the “Inferno” awaited, crowds eddying like frenzied ants dislodged from their path.

I’ve noticed God is making a comeback. It’s not just all the craziness in the Middle East. Soccer players now look to the heavens when they score goals. Come on! A touchdown prompts skyward glances. This didn’t used to happen. It would have been considered loony. My theory is it must have something to do with air travel. Survivors of it feel compelled to search out a savior.

As Walter Kirn writes of airlines in his novel “Up in The Air,” “How do they keep their lies straight in this business? They must use deception software, some suite of programs that synchronizes their falsehoods system-wide.”

It must have been when I boarded the bus a fourth time that a voice rose within me: Deliver me, please — all is forgiven — from this nightmare to the rude, anxious, attitude-rich, line-ridden hell of U.S. air travel!

Still, I’m ambivalent about Italian modernization. No sooner was I airborne than my thoughts turned to a meal at the Trattoria del Carmine, where nothing had changed since 1973, the “ribollita” was a restorative wonder, the fettuccine with wild-boar ragout just as succulent as I recalled.

Perhaps you can’t keep food like that and get jet bridges. Life’s a trade-off. Italy long ago made its choices. As the bumper sticker says, “Don’t drive faster than your guardian angel can fly.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/12/opinion/12iht-edcohen.html?ref=global

ablarc
March 11th, 2010, 10:34 AM
I learned that change can be overrated.
So did I --from the elegant lady cashier at Rome's gelato place in Piazza Navona, back in the days of gazillion lire.

When I returned and pointed out she'd short-changed me by about twenty bucks, she just shrugged and handed me the money.

Italy is the only place I go regularly where you have to count your change --at least if you're not Italian.

All that confession and absolution must make folks think they can do anything and get God's blessing in the confessional. Next week ... you just repeat the cycle.

I live in a place where most convenience store cash registers are manned by Somalis. They've never short-changed me.

.

Fabrizio
March 11th, 2010, 11:08 AM
^ short changing/ripping off tourists/bad service = Rome and below.

For the rest of Italy really you are fine. And while it's bad for tourists in those areas.... believe me, Italians must be careful as well.

LemSkroob
March 24th, 2010, 10:54 AM
I lived in Florence for about a year. Loved it, but had many, many drawbacks that made me flip my lid a few times.


For one, Its much better to Fly into Rome and take the trains than fly to Florence. For a NY-er, flying from NYC, i like the direct flights, of which Florence does not handle many of.


As for the italian way of life, well... it leaves some room for improvement. Most annoying is that things are never done in the name of efficiency.

City bus strikes are bi-monthly.

every shop closes down 3 hours in the afternoon for lunch. That sounds like a good idea, "hey i can get things done when i am not at work" but you quickly notice that everyone else not at work means you cant do much else but go home. (There was a model building supply shop near me. closed sundays, tuesdays, and each day they were open were different hours).


Grocery shopping done near daily, and there is a twisted logic behind it. Electricity is expensive, so nobody wants to buy big fridges. Small fridges means you have to go shopping more often. meanwhile, the money you save by less trips to the grocery store would help pay for a larger electric bill, but they don't want to hear of it. As an added bonus, because everyone shops every day, you can imagine what the supermarkets are like at "peak" hours.


Finally, as for building projects... many have no hope even before they are dreamed of. For going on something like two decades now, in Florence, they have wanted to build a new entrance to the Uffizi gallery around the back of the building. The word "new building" in Florence is about the same as yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. Much pants-shiatting ensues. In this case, they held an open design competition, and selected as the winner the smallest firm, knowing they would be too small to carry the project through. Nothing, in 20 years, has gotten beyond study models.

Fabrizio
March 24th, 2010, 12:09 PM
Your observations are understandable for an American.... but actually the Italian way of doing things often has great logic. Perhaps you are simply not able to see it.

- The 3 hour afernoon pause:

Most shops in Italy are family owned. Family run. It is the owner that serves you. He works from 9 to 1 and then from 3.30 to 7.30... that's an 8 hour day. The owner, just like the rest of us, gets to eat lunch sitting down, preferably with his family and can maybe even get in a short nap.

Even big chains that could stay open 24 hours must adhere to this schedule. Result? Those mom n' pop stores, which are the life blood of a real community do not face the kind of competition that will plow them under.

So many small towns in the US now have very few small private shops left. We still do. We have laws that help them... and an understanding and appreciation for them. That's why our towns are still among the most charming in the world. I would rather shop at my owner run pharmacy than a Duane Reade, thank you very much. I can live without being able to buy toothpaste at 11.pm.

---

- the eccentric store hours.

If the shops are privately owned you face flu season, a nephew's Christening, a stalled car etc..... and a shop that might be unexpectedly closed.

---
You write: "Grocery shopping done near daily, and there is a twisted logic behind it. Electricity is expensive, so nobody wants to buy big fridges."

People shop daily because that's what people who eat well do.

You don't seem to understand that the Amercan way of "stocking up" for the week is what's odd to us.

I can afford a fridge as big as I want... but mine is an under-counter model. Without a freezer.

Anything else for my lifestyle is unnessesary.

Let me add that I cook just about every day.

You also write: "...you can imagine what the supermarkets are like at "peak" hours."

People here shop at supermarkets, the local shop around the corner, the fruit&vegetable market in the town square... food shopping is rich and varied.

----

Building projects: let me tell you that I don't care much for Florence (IMHO the city has just gone to the dogs) and I can only agree with you about the side entrance to the Uffici...it's a scandal... however in the last 20 years the town has got a new refurbished Piazza Santa Maria Novella, a repaved Piazza Pitti, new traffic tunnels, the new streetcars, the new University complex etc. So no it's not entirely true that things don't get built.

--

You write: "City bus strikes are bi-monthly."

Italy is a mostly leftist country. People go on strike. We still have unions. Florence is historically communist.

We also have a bloated, spoiled public service sector that regularly makes the most ridiculous demands. Up until not too long ago we had bus drivers retiring at 47 years old. I'm not joking.

---

Ninjahedge
March 24th, 2010, 12:46 PM
fab, i partially agree with what you are saying, but I also have mixed feelings about some of the things that people will try to get if they can.

An extended lunch works very well in a small community where there really is no "commute" or any real external pressure for productivity or competition. While this does make for a more relaxing experience, 3 hours is still extremely excessive. 1 hour is rarely even realized in the states anymore, but I can easily see where even that is not truly enoughto prepare an actual MEAL, sit down and eat it.

Siting a standard "8 hour day" is almost laughable, even by Italian standards. i am sure that during harvesting season in wine country they just do not leave the grapes on the vine because they are finished with their 8 hours. What a waste it would be to that kind of fine produce if people just looked at their watch instead of the sun and said "done!"

This, however, does not translate as well into the buisness world, or even the marketplace, but we get this strange idea about what "work" is really about, forgetting how long and hard our ancestors worked to get us to where we are now.

That said, the Japanese/American model does not work well for our own health. It will CRUSH any competition into a fine Familial powder, but those that own, run, work at, or are otherwise connected with it are not generally known for their happy lives or relaxed lifestyle.

I guess the key is finding a mix. Something that does not kill off employees and community ala WalMart while at the same time not forfeiting any place in the world market for things other than clothes, wine and high-end sports cars.... (none of which are anything to be ashemed of, in and of themselves...).


As for stocking up for the week? That is also a split. Stocking up for the week on things like Milk and OJ are one thing, but making sure youhave a dozen choices of snack food, frozen dinners, or other things is unnecessary.

You may get something more hearty like Apples or Broccoli to last you a week or two, but things like Fish should be eaten THAT DAY. Fresh basil kicks butt over dried, and so the list goes on.

And Fab, while you may not have a freezer, some of us like our Bryers Raspberry Chocolate Chip ice cream!!! ;)



Finally, construction.

Well, what can I say. We have learned a lot from the Italians in that respect! ;)


I guess the lesson here is that you can always learn something from other cultures. The proper sense of honor in your job from Japan, the respect for design in Germany, the love of food and leisure from Italy. Many more things are also available to be opted to make life not only productive but satisfying as well. Unfortunately, we seem to take what will get us more stuff OR allow us more free time over something that would work as a balance between the two.

Fabrizio
March 24th, 2010, 01:15 PM
Ninja: I can't make much sense of your post but re. the extended lunch hour: it is cultural. It's a part of our lifestyle. It is not "about some of the things that people will try to get if they can."

Spain has their pause as well and a completely different way of seeing the day.

The world does not revolve around the American way of doing things. We are quite happy with our way.

---

Re: work, Italy, leisure etc... you write:


...while at the same time not forfeiting any place in the world market for things other than clothes, wine and high-end sports cars.... (none of which are anything to be ashemed of, in and of themselves...).


uh... please know that this tiny country with few natural resourses, a language that is only spoken here etc... a country with a 3 hour pause at the middle of the day... a country that shuts down in August ... also happens to be the worlds 7th biggest economy. Please look at our level of exports... (and if you reduce it to our population size we export more than the US).... so... somehow we manage:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2078rank.html
--

MidtownGuy
March 24th, 2010, 02:40 PM
Another reason for the siesta is Greece and Spain ( perhaps not so much in Italy) is the nightlife, which extends until very late in the night even for children. In fact in Greece you even see kids outside with their parents late at night (a.m. really) chilling like everybody else. Dinner typically doesn't happen until 10:00pm -!:00am. So of course people like a nap midday when it's very hot.
In Greece I'm not sure how they arrange it, but most stores are mom-and-pop owned yet during tourist season there is almost always someone from within the large families taking turns to mind the store during siesta, so that business can continue and tourists stay satisfied. Certainly in the cities and in most villages you will still find whatever you need at midday. Even in Crete you will see a supermarket remaining open. Then of course, there are also the peripteros, ubiquitous street kiosks that seem to be open at all times and sell everything under the sun: you can get ice cream, tobacco products, newspapers, magazines, cold drinks, snacks, around the clock. It's better than NYC in that regard. Everybody, locals and tourists alike, find them incredibly convenient,inexpensive, and open for business:).

lofter1
March 24th, 2010, 02:48 PM
As MG notes: The mid-day pause exists because around the Mediterranean for a good part of the year it's just too damned hot to do things from noon to 3 -- less so now with AC around, but historically it makes complete sense (unless you're a Mad Dog or Englishman).

Fabrizio
March 24th, 2010, 03:57 PM
In my town the lunch pause is the law. Tourists must adjust to our lifestyle.

This is something that has ruined Florence. In the last 5 years many of the historic commercial laws have been relaxed. They have food kiosks everywhere now, grocery stores opened 24 hours etc. The city is ever more banal... less special, less interesting. I love the buzz of 24hr NYC but Florence had it's own atmosphere.

---

Air conditioning: the pause is a good thing during August because of the heat... but we have the pause for social reasons not because of our weather.

(btw: personally I know no one here with an air conditioned home)

Ninjahedge
March 24th, 2010, 04:00 PM
Ninja: I can't make much sense of your post but re. the extended lunch hour: it is cultural. It's a part of our lifestyle. It is not "about some of the things that people will try to get if they can."

What do you think "culture" is Fab? People from all cultures will try to get the most for the least in almost anything.

If your culture had a longer lunch hour, they will not forego it willingly. Even the 30 minutes many had in my own career have nudged that 30 to 45 minutes or so....


Spain has their pause as well and a completely different way of seeing the day.

Aren't both countries having a major budget problem right now?

And you are not as completely different as you would like to think... although you are right in saying you are not the same! ;)


The world does not revolve around the American way of doing things. We are quite happy with our way.

Never said it did.


uh... please know that this tiny country with few natural resourses, a language that is only spoken here etc... a country with a 3 hour pause at the middle of the day... a country that shuts down in August ... also happens to be the worlds 7th biggest economy. Please look at our level of exports... (and if you reduce it to our population size we export more than the US).... so... somehow we manage:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2078rank.html
--

Yipee. Now tell me what is happening now? One thing that never struck me on my small sojurn through (touristy) Italy was its opulence. (opulance?).

Fab, do not get me wrong, I LOVED the smaller towns when I saw them. the "one table" cafe that, if you were not careful, you would be whacked by a rear view mirror. The problem comes only when trying to integrate with the rest of the world.

And, as I said, everyone can learn a bit from everyone else. If you think Italy is perfect.... ;)

Fabrizio
March 24th, 2010, 04:11 PM
"One thing that never struck me on my small sojurn through (touristy) Italy was its opulence."

Yeah... I know. The opulence thing. We really gotta work on that.

MidtownGuy
March 24th, 2010, 04:20 PM
I don't think Florence or anywhere else becomes "banal" because of some conveniences like 24hr markets or the presence of food kiosks (though in Italy I've honestly never seen the type of kiosks I described in Greece). I don't think having basic things available during midday means you are "adjusting your life to tourists" either. Adjusting to reality, or necessities, perhaps.

Fabrizio
March 24th, 2010, 04:38 PM
Our reality and necessity is the pause.

In my town you will be fined if your keep your shop open during those ours.

If you walk through the steets of my town at 13.00 you hear dishes clattering from the windows... you see every trattoria full... the coffee bars buzzing.

It is recess. We've been let out from school. It's communal. Wheather you are a construction worker or an office worker or shop owner you have your daily pause.

And traffic slows. The town gets quiet.

I often take a short nap after lunch.

Offices resume at 14.30. Some at 15.00. Shops at 16.00.

At 16:00 you hear the gates to the shops being lifted and the day resumes. Offices work until around 19.00... shops until 19.30.

This is the true Tuscan lifestyle. Tourists will have to wait a couple of hours to get their post cards.

--

MidtownGuy
March 24th, 2010, 04:50 PM
Oh brother... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwVSTXn5ghw)(s)of Italy
I don't think anyone was referring to post cards. It sounds cutesy, though, to put it that way.

Fabrizio
March 24th, 2010, 05:11 PM
Like most here, I am very militant about the pause.

We've somehow gotten along all these years with out having "basic things" available during those hours, but I'll put your suggestion in our town's suggestion box. Let's hope for a handy and convenient outcome.

MidtownGuy
March 24th, 2010, 05:15 PM
As noted by Lemscrook, Italy doesn't know the meaning of efficiency so we won't hold our breath. But thanks for playing your national anthem again.

Alonzo-ny
March 24th, 2010, 05:16 PM
What made Florence and also Venice banal for me (obviously not completely banal, how could either ever be) was the complete saturation of tourism. The shops, restaurants and most of all the tourists themselves almost completely ruin it. Certainly in Venice where you are forced to confront it due to the tightness of space which is a great shame. There should be a maximum occupancy. Florence was a bit better, I was able to find a quiet place to take it in.

MidtownGuy
March 24th, 2010, 05:20 PM
The NY Times had an article recently making the case that Tuscany is best visited in winter when it's not so much a problem.

Alonzo-ny
March 24th, 2010, 05:21 PM
As noted by Lemscrook, Italy doesn't know the meaning of efficiency so we won't hold our breath. But thanks for playing your national anthem again.

MTG this is a thread where talking about Italy and it's lifestyle is completely appropriate. It is an interesting discussion. We know you don't like to hear about it so don't read the thread or can the insults. For some of us it would be good to have a discussion without you poking your nose in and berating Fab constantly. I am sure I am not the only one who is completely sick of it.

(Queue the accusations of bias).

Fabrizio
March 24th, 2010, 05:23 PM
The centers of Florence and Venice are pretty dreadful during tourist season. They can sort of get nice on some cold rainy evening in February. At least Venice still has elegance. Florence is a shadow of it's self IMHO.

Alonzo-ny
March 24th, 2010, 05:34 PM
I am sure high expectations are my own fault but I expected to be blown away by Florence, like I was with Venice, but I was distinctly underwhelmed.

Fabrizio
March 24th, 2010, 05:41 PM
I think I mentioned that to you before you left. I try to steer people clear of Florence... move on to Siena, it is spectacular... true to our traditions and as a result: exotic. Or try the small towns and cities... still pretty wonderful. Big cities in Italy are not on a European level. IMHO, they are just not.

Alonzo-ny
March 24th, 2010, 05:44 PM
In spite of what I am saying I loved Italy. I definitely agree that visiting the smaller places is the way to go. That being said I loved Rome.

MidtownGuy
March 24th, 2010, 06:12 PM
MTG this is a thread where talking about Italy and it's lifestyle is completely appropriate.

which is what I was participating in. WHETHER OR NOT YOU PERSONALLY LIKE MY CONTRIBUTIONS.


We know you don't like to hear about it so don't read the thread or can the insults.
What insult would that be? Am I not able to make observations about a country now? So now the insult rule applies to whole nations. OK. Next time a conversation comes around to the fat American, the American with no style, the American with inferior food, blah BLAH BLAH...I'll try to keep you in mind and have a good long laugh.


For some of us it would be good to have a discussion without you poking your nose in and berating Fab constantly.
And for others it would be nice to exchange ideas without an over zealous modeator poking his nose in.


I am sure I am not the only one who is completely sick of it.

Well, you ARE the only one who is always compelled to come riding in
without any real need. And I bet there are LOTS of others who are completely sick of THAT.
(Queue the accusations of bias).[/QUOTE]
Ergo, the accusations...which you consistently prove true.

By the way, there is berating, and there is disagreeing. Keep them straight Alonzo.

MidtownGuy
March 24th, 2010, 06:13 PM
Now let's see Alonzo tell me to get back on topic, after defending myself from such unnecessary baiting by a moderator.

Alonzo-ny
March 24th, 2010, 06:15 PM
But thanks for playing your national anthem again.

Nice try Midtown but statements like this show you don't give a rats ass about discussion. No matter how you try and spin it. Get back to the topic. If you want to discuss this further PM me. Any other posts will be deleted. My post was a warning not an invitation.

Ninjahedge
March 24th, 2010, 07:15 PM
"One thing that never struck me on my small sojurn through (touristy) Italy was its opulence."

Yeah... I know. The opulence thing. We really gotta work on that.

Why?

Not everything is an insult Mr Insecure!

Fabrizio
March 24th, 2010, 07:29 PM
You believe I took it as an insult? (meanwhile: what does Ninja do? Throw an insult. Mr. Insecure?)

It's just an observation that's new to me, that I've never heard... odd, sort of like saying "One thing that never struck me on my small sojurn through New York was its tall buildings."

Or perhaps we have different ideas of what opulence is. I'll bet we do.

Ninjahedge
March 24th, 2010, 07:35 PM
In spite of what I am saying I loved Italy. I definitely agree that visiting the smaller places is the way to go. That being said I loved Rome.

I thought Rome was OK, but too much Pay to Play.

The Via Sorrentina was AWESOME! (Sorrento was really nice too)

Ninjahedge
March 24th, 2010, 07:43 PM
You believe I took it as an insult? (meanwhile: what does Ninja do? Throw an insult. Mr. Insecure?)

Don't try to wrap yourself in the blanket of innocence. The way you come off, intensional or not, is as if everyone is attacking your Beloved Italy and its Way Of Life.

Are you saying that sarcasm cannot be met with sarcasm? :confused:


It's just an observation that's new to me, that I've never heard... odd, sort of like saying "One thing that never struck me on my small sojourn through New York was its tall buildings."

I am confused at that. I do not see the direct relation (not that I am asking). One thing to be surprised about New York would be how open it really is once you get out of the business district, but again, that would have little to do with the discussion anyway.

You know, you are really good at taking things out of context.

Are you a lawyer?


Or perhaps we have different ideas of what opulence is. I'll bet we do.

Does opulence mean detail and attention to it to the point of luxury for even common items? It is both a good and bad thing when some simple stuff is hard to find. A cup of Joe? Heaven forbid!

NOT that espresso is a bad thing (or that I like StarPlucks in any way shape or form).

Maybe it was simply from the fact that many Italians do not go out or are not as used to being serviced constantly like Americans, so when they are, there is a higher quality, and cost, to the treat. The lack of Dunkin Donuts may push the price higher in general, but sometimes you can do without a Munchkin......

Fabrizio
March 24th, 2010, 07:46 PM
The way you come off, intensional or not, is as if everyone is attacking your Beloved Italy and its Way Of Life.



And, as I said, everyone can learn a bit from everyone else. If you think Italy is perfect.... ;)


^ And my I adress this? In this thread I've said the following:

About our Capital (and basically half of the country):

"short changing/ripping off tourists/bad service = Rome and below"

"and while it's bad for tourists in those areas.... believe me, Italians must be careful as well."

I described Venice and Florence as being dreadful during tourist season.

Actually "only nice during some cold day in February".

I described Florence as being only "a shadow of it's former self".

I agreed with LemSkroob about the strikes and our state workers: "we have a spoiled public service sector that regularly makes the most ridiculous demands."

I agreed about the scandal of the Uffizi museum entrance.

Actually I condem all of our big cities: "Big cities in Italy are not on a European level. IMHO, they are just not."

Yet amazingly I'm accused of Nationalism, I'm "Mr. Insecure" and "think Italy is perfect...."

LOL.

I think a few of you have a reading comprehension problem.

Alonzo-ny
March 24th, 2010, 07:48 PM
I thought Rome was OK, but too much Pay to Play.

The Via Sorrentina was AWESOME! (Sorrento was really nice too)

I really enjoyed Rome, maybe it is my love of history, particularly when it comes to the Roman Empire that swayed me. I was constantly awed by the fact that in was in the place where it all happened. I also love the ruins of empire. It was also my first time in Italy. It may not be as good as a smaller more traditional Italian town but it was still a great intro. It also helps that I am an architect. I was blown away by the ridiculous opulence of St. Peters.

Ninjahedge
March 24th, 2010, 07:53 PM
I think a few of you have a reading comprehension problem.

That would imply that people actually read all that you say! :eek: :D

Fabrizio
March 24th, 2010, 08:03 PM
^ Is your life really that bad?

-----

Rome: the center is other-worldly... magnificent... but I can't forgive the graffiti and areas that have lost their style. The horrible perifery. And ugh... that subway. Rome needs to modernize certain things and be concerned with greater up-keep. Under Veltroni it went on the skids with crime and decay... although he did do some great cultural things.

--


I was blown away by the ridiculous opulence of St. Peters.

How interesting....

Fabrizio
March 25th, 2010, 05:52 AM
Does opulence mean detail and attention to it to the point of luxury for even common items? It is both a good and bad thing when some simple stuff is hard to find. A cup of Joe? Heaven forbid!

NOT that espresso is a bad thing (or that I like StarPlucks in any way shape or form).

Maybe it was simply from the fact that many Italians do not go out or are not as used to being serviced constantly like Americans, so when they are, there is a higher quality, and cost, to the treat. The lack of Dunkin Donuts may push the price higher in general, but sometimes you can do without a Munchkin......

^ Is it me...or can everyone understand this? I can't. Can anyone help me out here?

Ninjahedge
March 25th, 2010, 07:40 AM
Nope.

Nobody can help you, you need the secret code to understand my true meaning. :rolleyes:

Fabrizio
May 14th, 2010, 04:34 PM
Oh well, take back everything I've said about Florence: today's HuffPost notes TripAdvisor's "Top 25 Destinations in the World". They rank Florence 4th in the world (with Italy also at 7th, 8th, and 9th place... Siena, Venice and Rome).

In the meantime, Huff readers can vote for their own top destinations in the world.... results so far?:

#1-Florence, #2-Venice, #4-Rome, #5-Siena.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/TCDestinations-cTop25-g1

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/14/top-12-travel-destination_n_575719.html

MidtownGuy
May 14th, 2010, 06:10 PM
Interesting list. They always are, real meaningfulness aside. Heidelberg, Germany number 2 in all the world. Who would have known! Never mind Paris, London, New York, Miami, Hong Kong, an exotic Pacific or Caribbean Island...I've been missing out on a mega hotspot all this time.

Fabrizio
May 14th, 2010, 06:38 PM
More about the awards:

"The TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Destination Awards earn their distinction from those who know them best – real travelers.

TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice winners are based on the millions of real reviews and opinions from travelers on TripAdvisor.com™ over the past 12 months. The top destination was determined by a combination of TripAdvisor travelers’ favorite places and overall popularity on TripAdvisor.

TripAdvisor, the world’s most popular and largest travel community, has 15+ million registered members, more than 34 million monthly visitors, and 30 million traveler reviews and opinions."

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"Paris, London, New York, Miami, Hong Kong, an exotic Pacific or Caribbean Island..." all make the list in various catagories.

New York, Paris and London for instance are ranked in " Trip Advisors Top 10 Culture & Sightseeing Destinations in the World".

( uh.... that's the list where where Florence is ranked #1, Rome #3 and Venice #8..... http://www.tripadvisor.com/TCDestinations-cCulture-g1 )

MidtownGuy
May 15th, 2010, 12:00 AM
Thanks ever so much for all that. Like I said, interesting list.
Enjoy!