Like many other countries right now, I know you are hurting. But I address this letter to you because you are, and always will be, my favourite country in the entire world. You are hurting because of the devastating amount of loss your country has endured. You are hurting because of the economical impact of this pandemic. You are hurting because hospitality is in your blood but this will be the first spring and summer that you do not welcome any tourists. But fear not. I am writing this letter to you as one of your guests; a tourist that has visited you many times.
I have visited your magical capital city of Rome. I have explored your spectacular Amalfi Coast. I have discovered the lesser-known island of Ischia. I have escaped to the Island of Sardinia. I have strolled the catwalk street of Milan. I have road-tripped through the rolling hills of Tuscany. I have marvelled at the culture in Florence. I have fallen in love with Puglia. I have skied on your magnificent Alps. But I am not done yet.
There is so much more of your land that I want to discover. I am yet to discover Venice and cruise down your famous canals. I am yet to taste Cannoli in Sicily. I am yet to be blown away by the beauty of Lake Garda. I am yet to taste the delicacies of Bologna. I want to go off the Italian beaten path. Then I will start all over again.
To me, your country has magic in the air. The taste of your food. The warmth of your people. The diversity of your landscape. The laid-back lifestyle. The weather. The wine. The pasta. THE GELATO. I could go on. There is an abundance of charm, style and culture on every street I walk down in Italy. I feel whole in Italy.
You welcome visitors like me with open arms. You show a kindness and a humour that crosses all language barriers. It makes tourists feel safe. It makes tourists want to return over and over again. Living in the UK, I am lucky that you are just a short flight away. But I know that you are a life-long bucket list destination to Americans and many other nationalities across the world.
I know it is not just me that feels this way about you Italy. You capture the hearts of people that visit you, which is why tourism has grown to be such a huge part of your economy.
So Italy, do not fear. I want to promise you that I, along with millions of others, cannot wait to return to your land. This virus is not big enough to scare us from returning to the place we love. We will be back.
Love from Jess, an avid Italophile.
Read some of my Italy blog posts;