Fascination between two countries
By Rosario Mariani, http://www.europebychoice.com
With the U.K.’s recent “Brexit” shifting European relations and economies, Italy’s long-standing love of all-things British have come to light. Italians seem fascinated with everything English.
In fact, in recent years, young Italians have flocked to London (despite the English weather) to work there since the economic situation at home was not favorable. Bright and ambitious young men and women sought opportunities in this great metropolis, although how the U.K.’s departure from the European Union will affect this is still uncertain.
Today, London has a sizable Italian-born population that has brought the flair and sophistication of the Italian lifestyle with them. The newcomers are well-educated and have quickly assimilated to the traditional aristocratic British traditions. On my first trip to London in 1972, it was virtually difficult to eat well anywhere.
Today, the “Cucina Italiana” inspires some of the finest restaurants in town. Gelaterie and Cafes are almost in every corner to satisfy, not only the tourist, but also Italians living in town, still clinging to their traditions. Conversely, the British seem to have slightly moved away from their traditional afternoon tea to the enjoyment of having an espresso.
In retrospect, 400 years ago this past April, William Shakespeare was born (and died) and the British bard must have been equally as fond of Italy. Many of his 38 plays were set in “this sceptred isle” of Britain, but 13 of them were based in the sunnier climate of Italy.
From the lovelorn streets of Romeo and Juliet’s Verona and Julius Caesar’s murderous machinations in Rome, to the frothy mix of sex, money and intrigue in Othello’s Venice, Shakespeare’s fascination with Italy is a constant undercurrent of his work. His Italian settings are so crucial to his plots that they have become characters in their own right – and his influence is felt in Italy to this day.
Buon compleanno (a little late) to Guglielmo Shakespeare! We will have to see how the U.K. and Italy’s relationship evolves after this recent development in European Union politics.
Rosario Mariani is the owner/CEO of Europe By Choice, which promotes travel to Italy and other select European countries. He has more than 40 years of experience in the travel industry, previously serving as Director of Italy Product for Italiatour and Club ABC Tours, and also in other positions with EuroFly, Alitalia and Air France.