1) If you go to Rome in August, you will be the only people there. Well, except for a few other tourists- and, as a friend noted, the thieves. They stay in town. Everybody else is on vacation.

Rome

2) If you knit a sock in public in Italy, no one will walk up to you and ask you what you are knitting, then say, “huh,” when you tell them it’s a sock, like you’re some kind of nut job and they were just checking to confirm that you really are that crazy. Instead they will look at your magic-loop sock and say, wow, I’ve never seen anyone do it that way. Then they will tell you that your sock is pretty.

public knittery

3) In the Apennines, there is a meadow. In that meadow, there are cows.

The cows wear bells, so the air is full of irregular clinking. Plus clanking.

4) There is also a tiny building in the meadow. In the back room, the shepherding family eats their lunch. In the front, there is tasty cheese. From the cows.

mmmmm, tasty cheese

5) If you pat the shepherd’s dog, he will come out and give the dog some commands, to show you how a 30-pound dog herds a 1,000-pound cow. This is important, because the in the fall the family will herd the cows hundreds of miles to their winter pasture in Puglia, the heel of the boot. They use the same paths that have been used for this purpose since Roman times.

a dude and his dog

6) If you go to Italy with someone who draws, people will stop and admire the drawings. This gives you a chance to try out your bad Italian.

Teh Arteest

7) Italians are pretty tolerant of other people speaking bad Italian.

8) Italian old stuff is way older than American old stuff.

A church. That was, you know, built by CHARLEMAGNE.

9) Italians are absurdly good looking.

(I would show you a picture, but then I’d have hunt down the email addresses of all the people we met and ask their permission…).

10) and hospitable.

dinner at Valeria’s