December 23, 2004

A Very Italian Christmas

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, which in my and many other Italian families means, The Feast of the Seven Fishes. Since I had become vegetarian a few years ago I don’t really get to partake as fully as I used to, but the important part is getting together with family to eat and drink to excess. And for those of you who have never been to an Italian dinner, yes, it’s exactly like the Olive Garden.

The day after Christmas I leave for a week long holiday in Italy. The real Old Country! I have never traveled abroad or very far out of the country for that matter (Canada just barely counts). My parents, Liz and I will be catching up with my brother and his new bride on the last week of their honeymoon to meet her extended family. We will be flying into Rome, staying there for a day, then driving (regardless of the awful things I have heard about driving in Italy) off to the east coast to Lanciano for the rest of the trip. I am beside myself with joy and excitement. I won’t have a clue what anyone is saying. I will just smile and nod politely. I really did intend to learn at least a bit of Italian, but then I was suddenly self-employed… and burdened with GTA. I will be bringing both of my cameras and an empty stomach.

While I am away there likely will be no updates, but thanks to some friends, next week will be full of guest photography for your daily photo fix. It’s nice of them to look after the place while I’m gone.

Happy Holidays everyone, and Happy New Year! See you in 2005.

And in case anyone was wondering, the greatest Christmas song ever is still Father Christmas by the Kinks.

Commentary (19):

1. Jon Hicks says… dec 23, 2004 | 10:50 am

Have a great time. Its nice to hear an American refer to Italy as Italy rather than ‘Europe’! (But then I guess you have a vested interest here)

2. Jason Santa Maria says… dec 23, 2004 | 10:54 am

You crazy Europeans.

3. Joshua says… dec 23, 2004 | 11:52 am


Upon your return, whenever someone mentions Italy, you will have a begin staring off into the distance, remembering the sights, sounds, smells of the motherland. A day in Rome? You may wish to change that. Sleep on the streets if you must. Take photos of the little things…the trashcans, the water fountains (drinking), the mailboxes.

Eat. So cheap, and so good. You will never want to go back to the Olive Garden, and you will finally know pizza.

Coffee. Dirt cheap, and the real thing. Remember to stand at the counter and drink it, or you pay a bit more (sometimes worth it after a long day).

Driving. Never did it there. Bizarre to watch in Rome, should be fine in the country.

Photography. If taking normal cameras, customs will fuck your film up. Digital? Take extra memory or dump it at one of the many internet cafes.

I could go on and on about the beauty of Italy, the people, the everything. I must go back to work now…


4. nick santilli says… dec 23, 2004 | 11:59 am

Hoping you were generalizing for the sake of the non-Italians with the Olive Garden comparison. :) But that’s like comparing the Loaf N Jug gas station mart to Whole Foods! lol Italians do it up right, especially with 20 or 30 all together in the same place. ah, I miss my family back east.

Wow - enjoy the heck out of that trip. So jealous. Can’t wait to make it there myself one day. (Use the Belkin connector to DL to your ipod for photo storage - if you hadn’t thought of it already) Can’t wait to see the awesome photo gallery from your trip.

Safe travels Jason.
And Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas/Happy Festivus everyone!

5. a different joshua says… dec 23, 2004 | 12:38 pm

ah, being burdened with GTA is a beautiful thing :)

have a good trip, Jason!

6. Mathias Bynens says… dec 23, 2004 | 1:16 pm

Nothing beats Christmas Time by The Darkness.

7. niff says… dec 23, 2004 | 1:21 pm

don’t take my liz!!!!

well, ok, you can take her, but bring her back…man, she thinks she looks white and redheaded here!

have fun you guys…i will be missing you somethin’ awful!

8. niff says… dec 23, 2004 | 1:21 pm


9. John Athayde says… dec 23, 2004 | 2:02 pm

Ah Italy. I was there for 7 weeks, and it was too short. There’s simply so much to see. There’s so much to see in old Rome it’s just amazing. I missed half the city and I was trying to see it all.

As far as the east, I never made it over there, but my great grandparents came from some tiny town in Campo Basso.

Ah Italy. If only more Americans could travel outside of the 50 states, we might be a less ignorant culture.

And on the regular film tip, I didn’t have a problem, but i had all my film rolls in lead photo film bags. That was also 1999, so I have no clue how crazy the TSA has gotten with the stuff.

10. Jason Santa Maria says… dec 23, 2004 | 2:06 pm

I am leaving my film cameras at home, just digital this time around. I wish we could spend more than a week there, and I am sure I won’t want to come home.

11. bearskinrug says… dec 23, 2004 | 7:34 pm

Awww - you guys will have a GREAT time! We’re going to the mattresses, but you’ll be safe over there while we catch the hell. That’s alright; these things gotta happen every five years or so…ten years…helps to get rid of the bad blood.

12. Mike says… dec 23, 2004 | 8:28 pm

I absolutely loved italy. From Nice in France I went to Pisa, Florence, and then Venice to round off my one week excursion. I didnt’ get to spend nearly enough time in the country as I’d liked because it was so beautiful. Florence was a typical Italian urban setting while Venice was calm, peaceful and very clean and quiet. Best of luck on your travels, make sure to bing back and post LOTS of pictures!

13. Emilio says… dec 23, 2004 | 8:49 pm
staying there for a day, then driving (regardless of the awful things I have heard about driving in Italy)


You’ll be here in Rome just after Christmast: don’t be worried!
In these last days before the 24th, traffic in Rome is something unbelievable. Real panic in the streets…
But, the days just after, every single soul in the city will be recovering from the 5 hour (at least…) dinner on the Christmast eve. You just have to get out of the city, and you’ll be safe! ;)

Hope you’ll enjoy your vacation here in Italy.

14. macubu says… dec 24, 2004 | 6:41 am

Wow! Welcome back home from another of your italian readers. If you ever find yourself in Milan, drop me a line. Have a nice stay and listen to Emilio: beware of crossing roads in Rome: they’re nuts!

15. Jeremy says… dec 26, 2004 | 2:21 pm

Excellent Jason! My wife (as of last week) and I will be in Paris for two weeks beginning on Wednesday. Have a great trip. Driving is a breeze there - ha!

16. Cristina Marie says… dec 27, 2004 | 2:05 am

Idiot’s Guide to Learning Italian.

17. Sian says… dec 27, 2004 | 4:15 pm

Driving in Rome is a bit manic but I’m sure you’ll manage.

No Panettone for me this year :( I must make sure to get one for next year though.

18. joseph says… jan 2, 2006 | 2:03 pm

first off, escuse my inglish, I live in Rome and i loove it here!! you people should DEFeNAETLy Visit!! I adores it soo much! definateli come visit Rome!!

19. Teresa says… aug 5, 2006 | 9:57 pm

Just found your site. Want to go to Italy for 25th wedding anniversary. Was it just wonderful or what. I have two years to wait, but planning from now in my head…