giovedì 8 novembre 2007

The land of contradictions...


I've been thinking recently just how much Italy is a land of contradictions - or certainly Milan is a city of contradictions. This is a city where people take home the minimum wage, yet dress from head to toe in Dolce & Gabbana and carry genuine Louis Vuitton handbags. It is where people live in small, overcrowded apartments, yet drive brand new BMWs / Mercedes / Ducati motobikes. It is where you can spend 100 euros per person on a gourmet meal in a smart restaurant, yet find that the bathroom is a hole in the ground over which you have to squat. In Milan, people pay 4000 euros per month to live in apartments on streets where not a single one of the buildings has escaped the work of the local graffitti artist, and where the pavements are smeared with dogs' muck and discarded chewing gum. This is a land celebrated for its artisitic and musical heritage, yet your average Italian will not set foot in a theatre or concert hall from one year to the next. Here everyone spends their lives worrying about "bella figura" i.e. looking good infront of others, yet they're quite happy to cut you up at the traffic lights, slam their hand on the horn, and stick a finger up at you in the rear view mirror as they pass. Stranger still, they have low cost red wine that practically runs out of the taps yet they don't tend to get blind drunk, and the women are slim and gorgeous yet I've never seen so much food in my life. It appears we're no longer in Kansas, Toto....

4 commenti:

Delina ha detto...

So true and well put. Wierd how it is isn't it?

Romerican ha detto...

Well said!

Kataroma ha detto...

I think the "bella figura" thing may be a bit worse in Milan. At any rate, there's less money around so your bella figura is driving a Fiat Panda rather than a Mercedes.

Certainly, I don't see a lot of people with genuine Louis Vuitton handbags in Rome. Most of our Italian friends buy their clothes at normal shops. But on the other hand, maybe we don't know the right people!

John ha detto...

Graffiti as an artistic expression (piecing, burners, etc.) and vandalism (gang tags, throw-ups, etc.) are two entirely different things. The latter is in abundance in Italy in the form of ultra bravado and childish attempts at gang-styled graffiti tags while the real deal is few and far between.

Graffiti is proper Italian and also a historical part of Italian culture. The difference needs to be made between petty crime and artistic attempts to beautify unused space.