In Italy, the truth is it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. I was thinking that after posting the photo piece on Carnevale last night. There was no way I would ever have found myself there without my friend Florinda leading the way. Mara and I headed off with Florinda and Luca her son to Marsciano that Sunday on the spur with no real idea of what we were about to see. Except we knew there’d be shaving cream involved. I’d been dodging the stuff all week. I’ve always detested school boy pranks in the extreme and so the fact that picking up Marabella from her temporary school in Perugia had become like crossing a sniper zone of fluorescent spray can string and greasy white foam… Well, I was not amused. Not even if it was happening to me in Italy.
But now of course the whole sticky mess has morphed into a prized memory. A rite of passage. The inside story. We lived Carnevale like locals that year, complete with Florinda’s month-long master class in what makes good struffoli e brighelle di Carnevale. Every February Florinda conducts her self-styled survey of the pasticcerie of the quarter to find the best version of these seriously calorific specialities. Not for the faint-hearted.
The idea of creating ‘a friend in Italy’ experience for people who haven’t actually got one has been bouncing around in my head for ages. It’s one of the many loose threads I’m trying to pull together on the the 30 day challenge I’m doing at the moment. (Mine is to create a new travel experience business out of my extreme passion for Italy.) You can read more about the challenge here and more about my project here.
Blogging late into the night as I’m doing too often at the moment, I woke up, still in the zone, and there in yesterday’s travel section was a piece on a New Yorker’s new travel guide offering, igottaguide http://igottaguide.com/ , based on the exact same idea, and driven by the creator’s own travel frustrations in -you guessed it – Italy! But hey, no angst. On the contrary. I’m taking it as a sign and running with it. I’ve got a new toy to play with this week.