At Feltrinelli bookshop today, I came across the new book by British journalist and author Tobias Jones, Utopian Dreams: In Search of the Good Life. I peeked at the inside front cover where I found, “…the exploration of the meanings of community and solitude – a voyage to the places where the soul, spirits and the sacred are central concerns”. Wow. Heavy post-modernist stuff that made me think of all those Anglo-American souls that sell everything to move to their personal utopian dream – Italy. Although the book is not about Italy, Tobias Jones knows Italy well (he is the author of The Dark Heart of Italy) and may have caught the bug himself while he was here.
As a wet-behind-the-ears blogger, I have been also been peeking in on other bloggers in Italy. Many of the 58 I found through www.expat-blog.com fall into the above category. Blog introductions include:
“Exciting and challenging place to live”
“My love of everything, anything Italian started back in the spring of 2002. I am going to live my dream by moving to Italy in January 2007. I hope to inspire other people to follow their hearts to a place so magical and divine. This is the ride of my lifetime, jump on it if you dare.”
“This is our dolce vita. We fell in love with Italy when we visited before and are preparing for an adventurous move to the old-world country! We know it’s not going to be all dreamy and sweet gelato, but it’s an experience we can’t wait to take on.”
“We are pursuing our dream of living in Italy since May 2006.”
“The adventures of an American girl who quits her job, packs her cats and heads to Italy to “restart” life.”
Can a country really come through on these high expectations? Reality usually hits 6-8 years into the game, when the pleasures of Italy crash head on with economic realities. Oops, there go the fantasies. Can you really have it all? Unfortunately the wonderful parts of a culture always have a backside and what you love about Italy creates what you hate -- same with the US. Wouldn’t we all love Italy with American post offices, bureaucracy, plumbers and drivers? Or the US with Italian food, good cheer, beauty, relaxed ways and friendly manners. Instead we are forced to choose and live both sides of the equation.
So here’s to utopian dreamin’.