Mamma Mia: The Search For An Italian Lover And Pizza In Italy
Let me start out by saying; Italy owes me nothing! Do you guys have that one place in the world that you have dreamed about, and thought ‘this is definitely my dream vacation?’ Well Italy has always been mine. I’ve always thought that I was going to save Italy as a bae-cation, but the way how my single life is turning out, I just went! I could be 90 by the time that bae-cation comes around!
I just felt extra bougie telling people that I was going to Italy. It is like this treasure chest, that everyone wants to open but can’t. Leading up to my trip, I saw a show on T.V. called To Rome With Love. In a nutshell, 5 black women travelled to Rome to meet their Mr. Right. Which led me to think ‘Soooooooooo Italian men love some chocolate eh?’ I was intrigued and excited. Who says that my Mr. Right lives in Canada? I could possibly meet an Italian lover on this trip. Picture it; I stay home and make fresh pasta daily, while my Italian lover goes to work everyday. On his way home, he stops and buys me fresh bread and a bottle of white wine. And we stare into each other’s eyes all night while I feed him caprese salad and pasta, and he sings opera to me….. Sigh. That’s pretty realistic, no? Anyways, I went with pretty high expectations.
My Italian trip consisted of stops in Rome, Venice, Florence and Sorrento. My first stop was Rome. Now for those of you who have never been to Europe before, you should know; don’t expect the same luxurious room sizes that you are accustomed to in other parts of the world.
When my roomie and I walked into the room, we barely had enough space to put down our suitcases. For my plus size babes, showering can be tricky. I legit had to turn sideways to slide out of the shower doors. Not only did I have to turn sideways, but I had to lift my right titty out first, slide some of my body out, then lift my left titty before I could slide the rest of my body out! I wish I was kidding here, but the bathrooms are tiny. My roomie, who is on the slim side dropped the soap. That soap was never to be heard from again!
Rome is unreal. Every single corner that you turn, there’s a stunning view of a water fountain, a monument, beautiful architecture of an aged building.
It was a bit overwhelming at first. I didn’t know what to gawk at. The buildings were just massive. One day I was on the HOP On/Hop Off bus, and I look up, and BAM; I was staring right at the Colosseum!
I mean in my wildest dreams, I never could have predicted the vastness of this structure. For the low low price of 50 Euro, I could have gone inside but my wallet just looked at me like “what is you doin?” so I opted to not go in. Nevertheless, I figured it is pretty much the same rocks that I see on the outside, that are on the inside…sooooooooo.
Speaking of money, I think by day 4 of my 12 day trip, I was counting my last few coins wondering where I went wrong. Although Italy is not necessarily expensive, money just runs through your hands like water. And when I say money, I mean Euros!!!! The Euro is like the Canadian dollars Big Daddy! For example, our first night in Rome, our concierge told us about a trendy area called Trastevere that you have to walk through a little alley way when you get there, but inside are quaint little restaurants with little patios street facing to entice you to come inside. We found an Italian restaurant that was able to accommodate us. I mean, it was our first night in Italy, we had to eat Italian.
Prices can be very reasonable in Rome for food. A caprese salad (which turned out to be a staple in all my meals) was approx. 7 Euro. Pasta dishes were about 10-15 Euros. A bottle of wine was 10-15 Euro. Not a glass, a bottle! Of course, because we were gluttonous tourists who just had to try everything on our first night, we went in.
My roomie is an absolute fish lover. We saw a fish on the menu for 8 Euro. So we’re like, let’s just get this fish on the side, since the pasta and salads are so cheap! We ordered the fish, and a few minutes later our waiter brought out this huge fish and started to debone it for us right at our table (by now we should have clued in that this is a bit much for an 8 Euro fish, but we kept looking at each other like, yooo we’re living our best life in Rome!)
Now when the bill came, for the life of us we couldn’t figure out why our bill was $162 Euro (that’s $242 Canadian!!!) Well, that delicious little fish that we ordered as a side, turned out to be 72 Euro! 72!!!! It wasn’t $8. It was $8 per pound!!!! I was low key eyeing the steak, and it said HG (meaning by the weight) as well. Thank God I didn’t order it, or else I’d still be there now washing dishes!
In Venice, we visited a glass factory. I was able to watch as they made one of a kind glass sculptures right in front of my eyes. It is actually an art form that takes over ten years to master. This is where I actually met my Italian lover, Andreas. Well… he doesn’t exactly know that he’s my Italian lover. I didn’t have enough time to work my magic. But he wanted some Nikki World Boss, trust me! He told me how beautiful I was. He was just so charming and enchanting. Charmed me right into buying a wine glass for 100 Euro!!!!! What’s wrong with me????? Was I blinded by love? But listen, I have zero regrets. I’m outcha living my best life. So when I say, I have no idea where my euros went, uhmmmmm I have a good idea where they went!
Can I mention how romantic Venice is? I stayed on the main land in Mestre. I had to take a water taxi over to Venice, which was about a 25 minute ride. At night in St Mark’s Square, restaurants feature orchestras that take turns romancing the crowds. Only one orchestra played at a time, and once one was done, then another band would start at a different restaurant. That is how I pictured Italy. Drinking wine, sampling baked treats, while my ears are caressed by beautiful music. It was absolute bliss.
Now let’s talk food. I gave up carbs for about 3 weeks before my trip. I am not a huge fan of pasta, but I packed enough elastic waist pants to accommodate all the pasta and pizza that I planned on devouring. Maybe it was where I chose to visit, but I did not see a lot of plus size people in Italy. How is that possible when pasta and pizza are so prevalent there??? Well, I wouldn’t be a serious journalist if I didn’t investigate this a little further. Ha!
Firstly, you can taste the freshness of the ingredients in the food in Italy. Just try their tomatoes. You’ll fall in love. People can eat ridiculous amounts of pasta because it’s so light and made fresh. I could literally eat a plate of pasta and not feel the need to undo my belt and take a mandatory nap. The pizza as well. There are no pizza slices. There are whole pizzas that you eat by yourself.
The dough is so thin, that it is normal to eat it by yourself. The whole 3-4 toppings on top of your pizza are clearly a North American invention, because the pizza’s there are way more simple, with just cheese or a margherita (Tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil.) I just don’t think you’ll ever find a meat lovers pizza that we’re all used to. Simplicity is key there.
I did not find love in Italy (Read that as, I have to book another flight and go back to find him!) I will however miss hearing ‘mamma mia’ when we’d walk by, and the stares of amusement (I can tell that some people are still not used to seeing black people.) However, what I did find was joy. My heart was full. My glow was real. I gave thanks to God every day that I was there. How lucky was I to be able to live this dream.
Stay tuned for my next post when I highlight all the must see places in Italy. You will definitely want to book a ticket to visit Italy yourself.
Things You Should Know:
We had to buy another suitcase to bring back all the stuff we bought in Italy. Please do not be fooled, I absolutely know where my damn money went!
I went to a leather factory, to see how they make their leather bags. Those authentic leather bags were about 300-500 Euros… for one bag! Now I know I said I was going to Italy to live my best life, but there’s levels to this ish. I went across the street to the street vendors and bought a few authentic fake leather bags for ¼ of the price! There is no shame in my game.
I find so much joy going to countries that speak a different language than I do. I studied Italian on an app called Duolingo. Yet when I tried to use the words that the app taught me, people just stared at me as if I was an alien! I swear I’m deleting that stupid app! This is like the third time it’s had me in these streets sounding crazy!
I almost lost my life on my first night in Rome. It was bad enough that we had to pay for 72 Euro fish, why not lose my life too! After dinner, it was late and we needed a taxi to get back to our hotel. We spent about an hour trying to wave a taxi down. I finally got one and please God forgive me but, he seemed like he had just finished sniffing a little of the white stuff. At that point though it was dark, and we were about 25 minutes from our hotel. This man ran every damn red light there was. Even if people were crossing the street, they had to run to get out of his way! Then had the nerve to tell us ‘no police, no camera!!’ Since he knew where all the red light cameras were, he didn’t need to stop. No word of a lie, he got us back to our hotel in 7 minutes. It took us 25 minutes when we were going!
Tipping can be tricky in Italy. I was told that most places you don’t tip, because they pay good wages to their workers. Tipping is generally not necessary. I personally felt uncomfortable with that, but when in Rome! One restaurant that I went to in Florence, actually added a fee to the bill. When we inquired what the charge was, she told us it’s for the tables and chairs we were sitting on! Hahaha….Soooo yeahhhhh, some places will go ahead and add tip for you! Examine your bills!