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  • 4 Reasons Italy is Still on Top of the World
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    FEBRUARY 27, 2005 - Italians are shuddering this week after an article in Newsweek's international edition exposes the reality that Spain, formerly Italy's poor cousin, is beating the Homeland at everything from business to soccer. The article reports that Italians now have an inferiority complex in Europe. Not to take the wind out of Spain's sails, but here are four reasons Italians should keep their chins up:

    Natural Beauty: From Florence to Perugia to Bari to Naples to Sicily, the regions of Italy are unique. Each has its own character, specialties, dialects and history. A taste of Balsamic vinegar in Modena and window shopping for glass items in Murano and picking up presepio pieces in Naples can't be replicated anywhere else in Italy - or in the world.

    The vista I get when I visit Ischia - the Aragonese castle or Mount Vesuvius is like a postcard always fresh in my mind. When you're there, you sometimes feel as though you're dreaming because such visions of beauty can't be real. Tourists of Italy fall in love with the smells, sights and sounds of arguably one of the world's most spectacular countries.

    Afternoon Delight: As Spain's economy and political leaders gain steam, the Spanish are even considering abolishing the siesta or long afternoon lunch break to increase work productivity, according to Newsweek. But Italy, especially the south, has never been able to part with the lengthy pranzo.

    Families return home and eat big meals that feature everything from pasta to steak. They take walks in the piazza to digest it all and then nap or tend to errands before returning to work for a few hours at night. Their lifestyle is, therefore, healthier than the ones Americans and others have chained to their desk and inhaling Big Macs in between meetings and phone calls and emails and projects. I'm not sure the produce-at-all-costs life is something of which to be proud - or to be mirrored.

    The Sex: A recent survey by Durex, a producer of condoms in 41 countries, found that Italian women achieve the most orgasms in the world. More than 60 percent of Italian women reported satisfaction, compared to second-place Spain with 47 percent of Spanish saying they climax regularly. Only 10 percent of Italian women said they have a vibrator, indicating that they don't need one.

    Having a healthy sex life helps people maintain stress and stay in good physical health, studies have found. This might be the reasons why Italians always seem to have a glow about them - and a big smile on their face. No wonder so many people find Italians to be so friendly!

    Rich History: The Roman Empire. The Renaissance. The Medici family. Juventus of Torino. Fashion designers - from Armani to Versace. Fellini films. Sofia Loren. Monica Bellucci. San Remo. One of the world's best cuisines. The Vatican. I don't need to continue - even though I could for pages. You get the picture.

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