16 May 2007.
Whenever I have discussed with someone the idea of staying in Italy, the most difficult people to convince have often been Italians. It might be that I have been talking to people with international ambitions, but it seems that even many Italians have problems trying to find a place for themselves in their own country. There are too few jobs, costs of living are high and in general there is a sense of stagnancy. Everyone knows of the stereotype of the 30-year old Italian guy who still lives with his parents. Some people like to think about this as an exclusively moral issue, and believe that such people are just too lazy or spoiled to do anything for themselves.
I don’t believe there are many exclusively moral issues, and I do believe many things are genuinely harder for young people here compared to Finland, for example. This is why the idea of staying in Italy has become less attractive to me too. Obviously I still love Italy, but I have become skeptical about the future prospects there would be. Right now it seems best for me not to stay but simply to come visit this country more often.
Something anyone from Scandinavia will notice after spending a day at the town is that there are lots of fans of Norwegian athletes. And while others may simply wonder about the Norwegian flags on people’s clothes, the Finns will ask themselves why the flags are accompanied by text in Finnish, “Napapijri” (the Arctic Circle in Finnish, albeit with a small difference). The explanation is that apparently someone in Italy wanted to start designing clothes and accessories with a Nordic inspiration, and the result was a brand with a Finnish name and the flag of Norway. I wonder if this stuff would be popular in Finland.
There is a pattern developing in my entries. I seem to be attracted to quiet, peaceful places you can go to listen to birdsong. This is stereotypically Finnish, I know, and I am a bit ashamed. Anyway, Florence does not have too many peaceful spots but in the Oltrarno area there are two: the Boboli gardens and Bellosguardo. Boboli is the poshest of all the parks in Florence, and you have to pay to get in. On the other hand, Bellosguardo is a quiet hill with lots of expensive homes, charming narrow roads, trees, vineyards, at least one white rooster but perhaps not much else. I read that the Florentines like to go there for a walk but I did not see many of them. Nothing against Florentines, but this time I did not mind.