“You may have the universe if I may have Italy” – Giuseppe Verdi
Ahhh….as I sit here in Piazza Popolo in Levanto on the Italian Riviera (4 minutes from Cinque Terre proper) I realize I have fallen in love with Italy all over again. Formerly, I was in love with the country in my head. Admiring from afar. Now that I am here it is that grand, great love you hear about. My friends tell me that when I fall in love I will know it…and I do. Yeah, yeah, I know you all were talking about a guy, but forget men…give me Italy. (well you can throw in the Italian men too I guess!)
We’ve checked into a cozy pensione called La Loggia. Cinque Terre is completely booked because of Easter, but Levanto is the next town. The unofficial sixth town. Sei Terre, no?
Everyone in Italy is SO nice. Three times since my 24 hours in Italy we’ve asked for directions…and three times people have just walked us there instead. Two elderly gentlemen, two young girls, and a shop owner…all ages and types! While heading to our pensione on arrival we happened across a parade coming up the street in our piazza. They were dressed in old costumes complete with tights, playing drums and trumpets with flag throwers bringing up the rear. It was fabulous!
While in Levanto, I finally tasted Italian gelato. Yes, it is everything people say it is…and I’m not even a crazy ice cream fan. I recommend a scoop of pistachio and another of Nutella. Mmmm…
As I sit here writing (well, now typing in a cafe actually) …anyway, at the time I was recording these thoughts I sat in the piazza facing the Mediterranean Sea. The city was alive around me; kids on bikes, couples strolling the boardwalk and families everywhere laughing, eating gelato, and soaking up the sun. Today is Easter after all so everyone is out.
Tonight we go to Vernazza for dinner.