Sunday, December 19, 2021

Are you dying to go to Italy?

“Per me si va nella cittĂ  dolente, per me si va nell'etterno dolore, per me si va tra la perduta gente.” - Il canto terzo dell'Inferno di Dante Alighieri *

On March 8, 2020, when we were just entering the tunnel of Covid19, I wrote a post and posed the question, “Should you go to Italy right now?  Now, 642 days later, as we end 2021, I am posing it again. But this time, with the benefit of the last 642 days’ worth of history, I’m looking at it differently than I did then. Of course, one could say that about almost anything in the last 21 months.

I’ve lost two winemaker friends in Italy, with countless other friends having contracted the virus, in Italy and America and around the world. I’ve lost a handful of friends here in America along with a relative. As well, a handful of my relatives have gotten the virus, some worse than others, requiring hospitalization and long recovery times. So, it has not been a hoax or a conspiracy to me. It has been real, and at times, very painful.

So, why am I asking if we should go to Italy? Well, for one, I’ve seen scores of pictures and posts from friends and acquaintances who have gone overseas. And every time I see one, I ask myself the question, “Would I go to Italy now?” But I also ask myself why I would want to go to Italy. Do I need to go to Italy?

It has been almost three years since I last went. I had gotten used to going to Italy several times a year. Since my first trip in 1971 I am embarrassed at how many times I’ve already been. So, what is it that I have missed? Am I needed there? I am posing the big WHY? to myself. And right now, I really cannot find a reason for me to go, except to possibly exercise a kind of egotistic indulgence. There really is no reason for my presence in Italy, which might possibly cause more stress on a healthcare system that is already being pushed to its limits.

Oh, I need to go. I miss it. I miss traveling. I am tired of looking at these four walls, this home town. The same people. This same droll existence I’ve been living for the past two years. I’m bored out of my mind. I need to go there for work.
I am needed there. I want out of this Purgatory that Covid19 has made for me!

*Through me the way into the grieving city

  Through me the way into eternal sorrow

  Through me the way among the lost people.


How appropriate Dante is in these times.

Look, it’s just as risky, if you will, to walk around Dallas or Chicago, San Francisco or New York, as it is in Florence or Rome or Naples or Palermo. It might even be more precarious here in America, where some say we are on the verge of a civil war.

Why do I say it like that? I will have Dante answer, if you will allow me:

“Noi siam venuti al loco ov' i'  t'ho detto che tu vedrai le genti dolorose c'hanno perduto il ben de l'intelletto.”

[We have come to the place where I told you you will see the grieving peoples who have lost the good of the intellect.] 

So, if I think I have to go to Italy because I am needed, if there is any lesson not lost on me in the past 21 months, it is this: There is nothing I must do, or see, or be, in Italy, right at the moment, until the world collectively heals from this pandemic. I do not need to have a glass of wine in a wine bar in Verona or Alba. I don’t need to go to the 1- or 2-star Michelin restaurant in Sorrento or Lecce. I can wait to go back to Rome and see my favorite places and people and eat all the things I haven’t eaten in the last three years. I will get over my constant need to be somewhere else, to populate my Instagram feed with epic pictures of wine and food extravaganzas in Panzano and Modena. I will get over myself. I am not needed in Italy, and will probably not ever be needed.


How about you? Are you dying to go to Italy?
wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W
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