giovedì 18 settembre 2008
I first fell in love at the age of twenty - one, somewhere in the middle of Eaglesham moor at a time in the morning when no civilised person should have been there. It was January and my boyfriend of the time and I, members of the Ryanair generation and yet to become familiar with the term "carbon footprint", were driving to Prestwick airport to catch a 99p early morning flight to Milan in order to fill the dead days of January with some Italian culture.A few hours later, I fell in love all over again. Milan, as promised by my cynical guide book, was grey, dirty and, much of the time, as empty as the floorspace of the designer shops that lined its streets. And yet I loved it. I spoke my ten-week-old, learned-in-evening-class Italian and people smiled and understood. Nobody spoke back in English and nobody seemed to look down at our scruffy, British student clothing. We climbed to the roof of the cathedral and saw pairs of pigeons in love. We drank the world's best coffee and discovered Nutella filled croissants. He was delighted by the cannons at the fort in the old town of Bergamo, while I admired the view of the Alps that stretched out hazily into the distance.My relationship with that boyfriend didn't last, but the one that I began with Italy grew and grew. For the guidebooks, Milan may not be the real Italy, but for me, that holiday was enough. I wanted to come back. And back. And back.Now, after several years of summer flirtations, I have come back for a year. I have taken a job here in Milan and I intend to experience Italy to the full. It may well be the biggest test our relationship will ever face, but it will survive, and this blog will be our story.