Amore heart

amore

love

Love truly is lovelier in Italy. “Anywhere else,” the nineteenth-century French writer known as Stendhal observed, “it is only a bad copy.”

Only in Italy can love’s colpo di fulmine (lightning bolt) set off spasimi (spasms) of infatuation of such Richter-scale force that they transform love-struck suitors into spasimanti, corteggiatori, innamorati, pretendenti, or, if almost fatally stricken, cascamorti. In English a heart breaks just like a dish, but a lovesick Italian soul claims a word of its own — spezzare — when it shatters into bits.  

Almost all classic Italian music and writing seems to be about love. Why? I asked an Italian composer and Petrarchian scholar. His reply: “What else is there?” I cannot imagine a citizen of any other nation—certainly no buttoned-down Brit or ambitious American, not even a flirtatious Frenchman or seductive Spaniard—making this statement.

How is that love, or maybe just the love of love, has embedded itself so deeply in the Italian psyche that the entire nation is crazy for love? Solo chi ama conosce, says an Italian proverb. Only those who love understand.

All this month I will be featuring posts on why people love Italy. And as part of a month-long campaign to get everyone to fall in love with Italy,  we are offering a giveaway we think you'll fall head over heels for. Click here to enter for your chance to win one of these five fabulous prizes:

*A $500 gift certificate for one of the 27 tours sponsored by Go Ahead Tours, including a 15-day Grand Tour of Italy, the Best of Sicily, Food and Wine tours of Tuscany and more.

*A LA BELLA LINGUA goodie bag, complete with a copy of my book, an official LA BELLA LINGUA tote bag and tee shirt, a Mona Lisa mousepad, and other treats  

*Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy, the best-selling collection of 175 regional recipes by the iconic Italian chef Lidia Bastianich

*Under the Tuscan Sun 2011 Engagement Calendar, an entire year of excerpts and recipes from Frances Mayes’s much-loved books, with stunning photographs by Steven Rothenfield

*Beyond the Pasta, Mark Leslie’s adventures in cooking with an Italian family.

We'll be accepting entries all month long and announcing winners in early March. The give-away is limited to residents of the United States and Canada. In bocca al lupo! (Good luck!)

Words and Expressions

essere innamorato di — to be in love with

essere perdutamente innamorato –- to be hopelessly in love

amante della lirica, amante degli animali, etc — an opera lover, animal lover, etc.

amore a prima vista — love at first sight