I've spent half a year in Italy in 89, and the first 3 days of 1990. Being in Austria, Poland, Georgia, of course Russia, Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, and the States I think I have a reasonable idea of different countries. Italy was truly friendly. I'm not talking a grandmother type of person being nice on a
street. Their country (I was in Rome) showered the streets with coins from balconies. Groups of people were singing. Before the new years Italians were taking out all furniture, refrigerators, TVs, bicycles, even motorcycles, cabinets all outside for who ever wants it! They placed signs with "free" next by where they live, or some took it to parks. Italians got rid of chipped dishes before new year, and clothes were taken to the monasteries (they didn't leave those on the streets). The Poles (we know, our family talked to them) were there picking up these goods. Those goods which didn't get picked up were later taken to monasteries, too. Around this time (still before the new year :) Italians were brining in new stuff, new refrigerators, beds, the other things they took out were replaced with new. Italians meet the new year with new
things. This might look like party culture, but there is so much more to it that really touches the soul.
There was a foreign boy eating bread by a woman as they walked, and Italian woman could not help but stop and give liras so the child could buy ice-cream.
It's these small things, that really matter, that I saw in Italy. Car-washes were through out the city, where kids would wash a car, and got rewards.
Italians didn't seem to care about money, and were doing just fine. They treated Russians there as their own people, maybe even nicer considering this was a big city.
Me, and another person were going through these hills, not sure if that the right word. We were walking on this green fields with trees, nice nature scenery maybe with few goats/sheep, and there was on the edge, like the grand canyon although much, much smaller, about only 25 feet down was another field, it was really beautiful area (and this was Rome!) I planted few tree seeds there, wonder if their big trees now.
D Slavovich Ratz
Sacramento, California, USA