I’m John Genzale, a career journalist who seven years ago found himself in the wonderful position of being able to live anywhere in the world. Along with my wife, I chose Italy. It’s not that I don’t love New York, where I was born and where I was living, or San Diego where I went to high school and where my large Italian family still lives. And it’s not that I don’t appreciate any of the dozen places in America that my newspaper, magazine and television career led me. It’s just that I found a place that fits better at this point in my life. Italy is not about career ambition or the accumulation of worldly goods. It’s about the generosity of heart and spirit, the sensations of sights and tastes, the connections through art and history, and the warmth of kind and caring people. So it’s not that I reject America, it’s just that I choose Italy.
I consider myself very fortunate because I get to visit Italy every day. I travel, I discover and I’ve learned a few things from minor quirks to the core of the culture. “Life in Italy” is about sharing them.
I’ve lived five years in the central Italy town of Citta di Castello and the last two in center-city Como, three blocks from the breathtaking Alpine lake. I found that Umbria and Lombardia are vastly different as I’ve found that the 18 other regions (states) are all fabulously beautiful and all are distinct in landscape, language, food and lifestyle. These distinctions provide rich material for a writer.
So “Life in Italy” is about my impressions of this fascinating country and its people. After a lifetime of writing and editing according to the rules of American journalism, I feel freed from the bounds of time and space. I’m suddenly unencumbered by the prohibition against first person. In fact, if it’s truly impressionistic, it must begin with “I.” I promise to make it fair and accurate. I’ll try never to be boring or pedantic. But I won’t avoid controversy; I’ll call ‘em as I see ‘em, with the confidence of knowing that Italy isn’t perfect and some aspects of life here can be improved. I’ll write it with the optimistic belief that confronting an issue critically is the first step in improving it.
But at its core, “Life in Italy” will strive to be interesting, entertaining, informative and fun.