My Europe trip continues, with almost a week in Rome and another near-week in Sicily where I took my mom to met our distant Sicilian relatives. Being two different regions within Italy, I will break out the two areas in the descriptions below when appropriate.
1. Rich, old culture. Once again, just like with London, as an American with little cultural history, I am floored at the richness and depth of the history and culture here in Italy. I stood within St. Peter’s Square, where the Pope has been delivering sermons for hundreds of years, before even the founding of my own nation. I walked through the gates of the Roman Colosseum onto the very battleground gladiators fought over 2000 years ago. I stood in the exact spot where the body of Julius Caesar was burned by Marc Anthony and Augustus. I stood dumbfounded as I strode through St. Peter’s Basilica, the single most magnificent building I’ve ever seen (and that’s saying something) seeing bodies of hundreds-years dead Popes embalmed in molten silver, with ceilings so high you actually get a little dizzy if you look straight upward.
We Americans don’t have culture or history like this. I was so deeply moved by these moments that it’s hard to put into words, and I’m not even religious. The feeling I get when I touch, with my very fingers, the same marble floors that were hewn by expert craftsmen and walked upon by senators and emperors thousands of years ago…it’s something that goes straight to my soul and beyond. Again, I have no words.
The irony is that many people in Rome, particularly the younger people, think it sucks. Young people here tell their parents they want to move to somewhere like New York or Singapore, with new, tall, glass skyscrapers instead of in Rome with “all this broken old stuff.”
2. The people. Italians are polar opposites of the British. While the British are taught to be polite, Italians are the loudest, most emotional people on Earth, outstripping even Hispanics, Russians and Koreans. They’re not quite as rude as New Yorkers, but they’re definitely in that zone. Taxi drivers are constantly enraged and screaming at other drivers and pedestrians, then turn right around and laugh at a joke. Restaurant staff are out on the streets, aggressively trying to pull people into their joints. Street vendors get right up in your face like they would in a third world country. People stare at you without a care in the world and have little sense of personal space (this is nice when an attractive women is doing it though). Italians are constantly talking, often over each other, and a room with even a small number of Italians in it is a constant din of noise. Hugging and kissing (or touching) both cheeks, even for strangers, is commonplace for both sexes, and many times I found myself doing this with folks I met in Italy, including children and old men. A very weird experience for an American, but when in Rome…
Unlike London, where Londoners are actually in the minority there, Rome is definitely populated by Romans. The vast majority of people in Rome are indeed Italian, I’d say about 85% (outside of the tourist areas). In Sicily this rises to 95%.
People drive like maniacs, and every car ride in Italy is like being in a suicidal roller coaster. People are constantly honking at each other, cutting each other off, yelling at each other out of their windows, and passing each other on freeways in highly dangerous ways even the bravest Americans wouldn’t dare. At least three times so far I’ve seen near head-on collisions because of this. I’m astounded there aren’t more car accidents here, but I suppose if you grow up in a maniacal driving culture like this, you become accustomed to it and learn to move with the flow of the insane traffic.
Because of the lower economic status of the country, street lights are less common, and most crossings are pedestrian right of way crossings (marked by thick white lines) where you take your life in your hands every time you cross the street, with all these high speed Italian drivers furious that they actually have to slow down or stop for you.
Like a third world country, police here act like little kings and pretty much do whatever the hell they want, breaking traffic laws constantly just because they can, infuriating everyone else (more on this in a minute).
In Sicily I had to rent a car to drive out to some of the smaller villages so I could take my mom to meet her distant family. Driving around in Palermo, Sicily’s only real “city,” was a hardcore experience. I had to drive as aggressively as I’ve ever driven in my life. It was fun for me but my mom was terrified. Driving in a country like this is not for the faint of heart. Once you get out on the highways things are much easier, though no one ever uses turn signals, people behind you ride right up on your bumper even if you’re going far past the speed limit, and cars still pass other cars in near-suicidal ways.
My car was the typical tiny European kind. Everything in Europe is small. Small cars, small food, small people, small buildings, small rooms, small homes, small everything. Here is my badass European ride (Americans, try not to laugh):
This little toy car has very little power (I can floor the gas pedal and it will barely go up a steep hill) and can’t shift itself without clunking. Hilarious and fun.
3. The women. Roman women and Sicilian women are distinctly different, so I’ll discuss each.
Modern day Roman women come in two distinct flavors. I’ll call them long faces and round faces. (I’m sure there are more scientifically accurate names for these races, but if there is I don’t know them.)
Long faces are women with narrow, long faces, darker hair, and gigantic noses that are disproportionately large as compared to the rest of their facial features. These women represent roughly 50% of the women you’ll see walking around Rome. They are universally unattractive unless you have a personal preference for that kind of thing.
To be clear, I’m not saying that big noses are necessarily a bad thing. As I talked about when I went to Australia, Australian women have longer, pointier noses than American women, yet women there (in Sydney anyway) are super hot regardless. The difference with the long faces in Rome is that their noses are huge, not just longer or pointier, but huge overall. It doesn’t look good, at least in my opinion.
The round faces represent 40% (or so) of women you’ll see in Rome. They have lighter hair (sometimes dark blonde, sometimes light brown) and have rounder, more normal shaped faces with more proportional features. These women are average looking, but a small percentage are so strikingly beautiful that they’ll make you spit out your gelato when you see them walking down the street. (The remaining 10% of women in Rome are various miscellaneous races, including many Asians, surprisingly.)
The problem is a small percentage of 40% means that attractive women are indeed somewhat rare in Rome. It’s not as bad as London, but it’s not good either. This was disappointing, since too many James Bond movies fooled me into thinking that Rome was full of raven haired turbo-hotties like Monica Bellucci and Caterina Murino.
In Sicily, oh sweet lord Jesus, now that’s a different story. As soon as you get of the plane in Sicily from Rome, immediately you see a difference. It’s as if Venus herself has blessed the island of Sicily with the Wand of Super Hotness. Cute and ultra-hot women are all over the place in Sicily, in the towns, the small cities, and even in the tiny villages with just 2,000 people. This is very strange, since in the US, if you go to a town with 2,000 or 3,000 people, you’re not going to find a hot girl anywhere in there. But in Sicily, holy crap, if you just slowly drive through a town like one of these you’ll see at least two or three women who are, if not super hot, at least super cute. Simply amazing.
In one village we stayed at (population 2,000) I saw many ultra-hot women, just walking around, or working at one of the local bars, or going to church. Even my mom commented that seeing these beautiful babes “didn’t fit” the rest of the setting. She’s right.
I have no idea why the women in Sicily are so much better looking than in Rome. One theory that I’m sure is incorrect is because many Romanian women come to work in Sicily the same way Mexicans come to work in the US. In Romania they make 100 Euros a month, but in Sicily that can make 500-1000. The problem with this explanation is that most of the super hot women I saw were clearly Italian, and most of the villages I spent time in had zero Romanians.
Whatever the reason, if you like hot Italian women, you need to get your ass to Sicily. You will be in absolute heaven here. If you have blue eyes like I do, that will score you some extra points, since women down here seem to love that. I received many positive comments and compliments from women here, since I look Italian/Sicilian yet have blue eyes. They were also shocked that I was 44. Many men and women commented that I looked like I was “in my twenties,” though that could have been bullshit.
On my city list of attractive women, I’d place Rome about on par with San Jose, meaning on the low end of the “average” city range, and I’d put the island of Sicily on the low end of the attractive range, about equivalent to Vancouver.
4. The men. I have nothing much to say about the men in Italy other than to repeat what I said about London, in that the men in Rome are clearly better looking, on average, than the women. This means Roman men, like London men, are getting the shitty end of the deal. If I was a man living in London or Rome and my dating life was important to me, I’d probably move. (Of course I’d move anyway, since Europe is going down with the rest of the West, but that’s another conversation.)
In Sicily, the ratio of attractive men to women is much more equal. Since the lifestyle is harder in Sicily, people do not age well there, and men quickly get fat and dumpy while the women quickly become bent over old ladies. However, people in their 20s and early 30s are quite attractive before this happens.
5. Catholic capital of the world. Rome, and to a degree the rest of Italy, is the “capital” for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. Vatican City within Rome is the Catholic Mecca, and thousands of Catholics converge on it daily from all over the globe.
This was one of the reasons I took my mom here. Having been a Catholic nun for almost 10 years before she married my dad, she has deep historical and religious knowledge of everything Catholic, down to the minute detail, and can even read and translate Latin. Seeing the Pope speak in St. Peter’s Square the other day was one of the highlights of her life. She was almost close enough to touch him and took many pictures. She cried.
I was going to go with her until we were notified that you had to arrive four hours early(!) in order to get a spot (making it 7:30am) despite the fact St. Peter’s Square holds 125,000 people, not including the people who fill up the adjacent streets (which is what happened the day my mom went). I love my mom and I respect the Catholic faith since I was raised in it, but I’m also not getting up at 7am to go see some guy in a medieval costume spout some bullshit Societal Programming about a 2000 year-old sky god and his wizard son. So my mom went with a friend she met the day before (a middle aged British lady and her beta male husband) while I slept in.
Pope Francis is my mom’s favorite Pope, since he’s a left-winger (my mom is a committed leftist despite her strong religious background) and does things like live in a crappy apartment and takes the bus to and from work, infuriating the wealthy Bishops and Cardinals. To quote my mom,
“Finally we have a Pope who is teaching those dumbasses how to help the poor.”
~BD’s Mom, former nun and sweet old lady
Catholic churches are all over Rome, and it’s unusual for me to see a city dominated by one religion (95% Catholic!) since I’m more accustomed to cities like those in the US and Singapore that have churches of various Christian faiths, plus mosques and synagogues. My mom was overjoyed at the Catholic dominance of Italy and went to mass several times during our visit, both in Rome and Sicily. “These churches I can trust!” she said.
No, I did not join her. I’m an agnostic (though not an atheist). I was baptized and had my first communion, so I can use the holy water in a Catholic church and partake of the Body of Christ (eating those tiny white wafers during the sacrament of communion; tastes like cardboard), but I had no interest. Attending mass at Westminster Abbey back in London was more than enough religion for one trip, at least for me.
6. Subpar European infrastructure, as usual. Oh boy. Here we go again with shitty European infrastructure. Being a poorer country with a more lazy culture, I knew that Italy would be even worse than England, and I was not surprised at what I experienced. Things were so bad that they actually tested my patience a few times (and I’m a pretty patient, chill guy when I travel).
One of the many reasons the European Union was such a stupid idea to begin with was that you can’t have people like the hardworking Germans and British in the same “country” as the lazy Italians, Greeks, and Spaniards. The cultural differences between these regions are too strong, and all you’ll end up doing is sucking the money from the harder working northern countries into the lazier southern countries. Which, of course, is exactly what’s happened. But that’s a topic for another day.
A few fun things me and my mom ran into during our trip while in Italy, things I never have a problem with when traveling within the US or Asia:
– Two of the three elevators in our first hotel didn’t work, causing huge delays every time you left or entered the hotel. This was a nice hotel too, not a shitty one.
– In the same hotel, the pool they advertised was closed, even though it was indoors, for reasons they couldn’t explain. All this pissed my mom off so much (she loves to exercise and swim) that we switched hotels after our first night in Rome. The aggressive Italian desk staff gave my mom all kinds of hell and leaned on her hard to stay. They had to debate for about 20 minutes before they finally agreed to refund our unused nights back. I was up working on my laptop in the hotel room during all of this. I was perfectly happy with our current one-elevator and zero-pool hotel, since I’m used to these kinds of problems, but my mom wasn’t (she’s never been outside of the country before), so I let her dick with it.
– In our second hotel, my mom wanted to actually see the hotel room before we chose it, because by this point she was getting the hang of European infrastructure (I consider it a good education for her). We went up to look at it, discovered the staff sent us up to the wrong room, went back down, asked for the correct room, went back up to look at it, approved it, went back down, got the keys for the room, went back up, found that neither of our keys worked for the room, went back down, got the correct keys (the staff had given us wrong keys) and finally went back up to our room to unpack. I’m not making any of this up, and once again, this was not a shitty hotel, but a fancy upscale one that cost several hundred Euros a night.
– The internet, both in Rome and Sicily, was slow as shit in every location I tried it. Workable, but slow. Sicily’s internet was even worse than Rome’s (unsurprisingly).
– During our visit to the Roman Colosseum, “both” of their “electrical generators” broke down, causing a massively long wait for the “fast” line (the line for people who got their tickets in advance, which we did). I had hired a private tour guide for me and my mom, and she was aware of an alternate entrance because she worked with the staff there; otherwise we would have been screwed.
– The bathrooms in the Roman Forum were all “broken” and out of service. I had to hold it for literally 3.5 hours and pissed like a racehorse when we were done.
– In Sicily I rented a portable wifi unit (4 Euros a day) so my mom could have internet access on her phone during our five day stay there. (I have an international data plan so I didn’t need it). It worked for two hours and then never worked again.
– Restaurants and most other similar locations in downtown Rome do not have running hot water in the bathrooms. In the summer this is probably nice, but on some seriously cold October days, washing your hands in freezing water isn’t very fun.
– Huge piles of trash on the sidewalks in Sicilian cities like Palermo are commonplace. (The small villages inland are quite clean though, just run down and old.)
– I can’t comment on the subways, since Rome is quite compact and you can pretty much walk everywhere, taking very quick and cheap taxi rides if you get tired. However, everything I heard about the subway system from the locals was negative.
– Getting the rental car in Sicily was no big deal; it was just as fast and efficient as getting a rental in America. However, actually returning the car to the right place was such a nightmare it took almost 45 minutes. I could give you details but reliving it here will just irritate me. In the US or Asia, you just drive up to a very clearly marked, easy-to-find place, they scan a sticker in your car with a barcode reader, and you leave. Takes about two minutes.
– Just like in London, there were delays in taking flights into and out of both Rome and Palermo. I experienced the same thing in France. I think sitting in your airplane, not moving at all, for 25-50 minutes after everyone has boarded, is a European standard. It’s bizarre and I have no idea why they do this.
– The Palermo airport is particularly insane. You line up at the gate, wait forever, then walk out to a bus that buses you over to the plane. This means that you have to wait for multiple buses to fill up before you get your bus. These are standing-only buses and they don’t have a lot of places to hold on to; only a top rail. This is fine, but my mom is very short and she couldn’t reach it. After almost falling over twice as the bus careened around, I finally had her hold on to me while I held the top rail.
Oh, it gets better. Leaving Palermo, our flight was at Gate 15. We sat there, plenty early as always, waiting for the line to form so we could get in there among the first boarders. Then suddenly, as I was watching the flight board, the gate number changed from Gate 15 to “Gate 10 – Now boarding.” My mom and I had to grab all of our shit and run down to the other gate where the giant line was already half formed. Fun!
Then I saw the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen at an airport. It was so great I had to take a picture of it for you guys. Here it is. See if you can tell what’s wrong with this picture:
As you can see, there is an entry/exit tunnel for the plane, at the perfect height of the plane, but for some reason they weren’t using it. Instead, boarders had to walk through the external hallway, then lug their luggage down several flights of stairs, walk across the tarmac outside, then lug their luggage back up the stairs to the plane, even though the fucking entry tunnel is right there, being unused.
This would make perfect sense in a third world region like Africa that doesn’t have these tunnels, but the airport had one right fucking there. If they had parked the plane about 20 feet to the left, it would have been fine.
This was so damn funny I was laughing my ass off while waiting in line. The Italians, probably accustomed to this insane shit, had no idea why I was pointing and laughing.
By the way, a quick note about why I point out these infrastructure failings. If I was traveling in an actual third world country, like Cambodia or Nigeria, these kinds of things wouldn’t bother me and I wouldn’t point them out (other than for entertainment). But places like Europe and Australia aren’t the third world. Right? Therefore, my expectations are higher for nations like this, as yours should be.
Some of you have expressed confusion about my complaints about Australian or European infrastructure while I plan on possibly moving to a place like Argentina or Paraguay. The difference is, I hold the third world to a different set of standards. Third world countries are allowed to have ridiculous infrastructure problems. First world countries should not. Otherwise they should not call themselves first world.
This means that countries like Italy either need to declare themselves third world countries, or get their act together and get on par with the US and Asia. But if you’re going to call yourself a first world nation while tolerating aspects of third world (or close to it) infrastructure, then guys like me are going to call you out on crap like this. I hope this makes sense. I’m also not saying that the USA’s infrastructure is ideal. It isn’t, but it’s clearly better than the stuff I’ve been reporting from Europe lately.
Just look at Singapore or Hong Kong. Decent infrastructure really isn’t that hard, folks.
7. The Food. Holy shit. I mentioned last week that London food was boring and thus it was easy to stick to my diet while there. But Italy…oh Mama Mia it amo, uccidimi ora. The food here is so goddamm good it must be the work of Satan. People here eat piles of bread, pasta, meat, pizza, gelato, and a few fruits and vegetables but I don’t even know why they bother. The sweets here are made from natural ingredients, not from a bunch of chemicals like in the US. Chocolates, pastries, canolis, all of it melts in your mouth and you can’t believe how good it is. I don’t drink alcohol, but I tasted some wine here and wow, you can actually taste the grapes.
So yeah, I had to take a few days off the diet here, particularly in Sicily where our hosts and distant family members in Vallelunga (a small village in the hills in the center of the island) served us with all kinds of wonderful, homemade, high carb crap, and it would have been insulting to not eat some of it. When in Rome…
The eating habits here in Italy are kind of insane, and yes, this is an American saying this. One family meal we had was huge plates of french fries and mayonnaise for a starter, followed by pizza, where everyone got their own pizza, and it was not “personal size,” but a normal sized pizza, followed by cake for dessert, followed by shots of a sweet type of alcohol they call “bitters.”
Little kids eat gigantic calzones the size of a large plate. Old men squirt mayonnaise packets onto their plates and eat it with their fingers while waiting for other food. I’m not making any of this up.
When visiting a distant aunt, she served me and my mom plates of cookies, bread, and croissants. When we politely refused to eat anything other than a few bites, she was offended and whipped out a huge plate of doughnut-like pastries at us and told us to eat those as well, saying “Manja, manja!” over and over again, which means “Eat, eat!”
I could go on with stories like this. It’s unreal with the food over here.
Ordering things like salads is acceptable but people look at you a little strange. I was able to survive by focusing on eating the meat, like sausage and prosciutto (which was excellent), but god damn, it was a huge battle.
Regardless of their bizarre eating habits, I can’t deny the food in Italy is absolutely fantastic. Italy is now officially the home of the second best food in the world in my opinion. (Hong Kong is still number one.)
8. A Seething Hatred. One topic that was echoed by just about everyone I talked to in Italy, from Rome to Sicily, of all ages and types of people was this: a deep hatred of their own government. The feeling here is that the Italian government is royally screwing everyone, laughing at them, and getting away with it. A common joke I heard is that the mafia no longer exists in Sicily, they have moved to Rome, and are now the politicians in government.
One man in Sicily said, “My father worked at the postal service for 40 years. He gets 1,000 Euros per month for retirement. A politician in Rome works for just four years and gets 25,000 Euros per month retirement, at any age, forever. It is evil.”
Another man in Rome told me, “They (the politicians) are turning our country to garbage. Everyone goes to college, then no one can get a job. They are laughing at us. This is the life!”
A young woman working at the rental car company in Palermo, one of the usual super-hot Sicilian ones, upon hearing my English and my accent, started flirting with me and asked me if I was from Canada (a common assumption about me when I travel, since Americans never travel). When I told her I was from the USA, her eyes lit up like spotlights and she said, “Can I come with you? Take me away from Italy!”
(Side note. Upon relaying this story to my mom, she glared at me and said, “I hope you told her you have a girlfriend.” My mom knows my OLTR, likes her a lot, and is hoping I will marry her. As you might imagine, Mom isn’t very excited about my lifestyle, and anything Alpha Male 2.0 related just makes her snort.)
Another man in Rome told me, “If you visit Rome for a few days or a week, you will say, ‘Rome is beautiful.’ If you stay in Rome for a month, you will say, ‘Rome is shit.’ Too many problems here. The police do whatever they want. The politicians will not fix the roads. They will not fix the subways.”
Over and over I heard this stuff, everywhere I went. Americans dislike their government too, but this was different. There’s a real anti-government hatred here that I don’t see in other countries, including the US.
On December 4th, Italy votes in countrywide referendum that might eventually lead to “Italexit” the Italian version of Brexit. I figured this was a waste of time, since Italy, as a crappier economy, is in the receiving end of the EU deal, thus they would universally vote to stay and continue to get their free German cash. However, now I’m not sure. The people of Italy may actually vote to leave, just to give a middle finger to their government the way Donald Trump supporters are doing in the US.
I still don’t think this is going to happen though, since like most Europeans, Italians are largely left-wing quasi-socialists who worship the welfare state and keep voting for the very people who screw them. Several people I talked to here are for staying in the EU even though they hate the direction Italy is going.
Time will tell I guess.
9. Alpha Male 1.0 family structure. As a Mediterranean culture, most families in Italy, particularly southern Italy, follow an extreme Alpha Male 1.0 model that revolves around family, religion and drama. I spent a lot of time with Italian families on this trip and was able to observe them up close.
I could write an entire article on the Alpha Male 1.0 Mediterranean family model, but the summary of the common Italian family (especially in Sicily) includes all or most of the following aspects:
- Alpha Male 1.0 father who runs the family with an iron fist and is always obeyed (albeit after some drama and pushback)
- Submissive or partially submissive housewife who doesn’t work, or only works part time
- Extreme focus on family, including extended family
- Very religious (in Italy’s case, Roman Catholic)
- As many children as the father can possibly afford (and sometimes even more than that)
- Non-stop, pretty much daily drama and arguments between spouses (and other family members), and when I say “daily” I’m not exaggerating.
- Regular or semi-regular cheating, usually by the husband but sometimes by the wife too (creating even more drama!)
- Decently high divorce rate just like everyone else (though the divorce rate is lower in the small Sicilian towns; these people still cheat on each other like crazy but tend to stay together more often).
Not a family model I would like at all (I would kill myself if I had to put up with all that crap), but some of you higher-drama Alpha 1.0s would love how the men and women live down here.
That wraps it up for Italy! It’s a fun place and I’m sure I’ll be back. I’ll be visiting a few more places in Europe on this trip, but none of them long enough to write a full city review. That will have to wait until next year when I go to Paris and Dubai.
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I don’t know who you talked to, but none of this is true. The vote is for a constitutional reform to change the Parliament structure, it has nothing to do with leaving the EU.
I can’t wait to see your article about Argentina. (grabs pop corn)
I did a little research and you’re half right. The vote itself doesn’t have anything to do with the EU specifically, but many are saying that if the vote is “no,” it will lead to political chaos in Italy and will likely lead to Italy leaving the EU and/or a currency crisis with the Euro. And I’m not the one saying this and I have no idea if it will actually happen; I’m just repeating what I’ve heard from a lot of people who follow this stuff more than I do. (I’m no expert in Italian politics, which are ridiculously complicated.)
Per Forbes magazine:
This vote in Italy needs to go on your economic radar screen. If the “no” vote wins, Renzi has promised to resign. This would throw Italy into a political crisis. Then there would be a real potential to elect parties that would call for a vote on whether to stay in the European Union.
Italian PM Matteo Renzi has staked his future on the vote, saying he would quit if he is unable to secure a victory for his constitutional changes. That could have wider implications for the European Union, because it would open the door to the possibility of the Eurosceptic Five Star Movement getting into power, who have made no secret of wanting to hold a referendum on Italy leaving the Euro.
Regardless, I’ve amended what I said in the above post to make it more factually accurate. A hell of a lot of Italians are talking about whether or not to leave the EU.
I may be living there someday so you’re definitely going to get it. Probably not until 2018 though.
The problem with the Eurozone is that it’s a lose-lose situation for both sides, the economically strong countries like Germany and the weaker countries like Italy. (Even though Italy’s not yet hit by the wave of destruction like Greece or Spain. But that’s just a matter of time.)
It’s true lots of money flows from Germany to Italy, but both sides are more suffering that profiting from this system.
On the profit side for Italy is, as you stated, the fact they get money from Germany. And on the profit side for Germany is that they get one currency for their trading in most of Europe which makes business deals more calculible. Especially with long-term business deals you don’t have to worry about any future changes in value of the different currencies anymore. And since Germany is one of the biggest export nations in the world its economy is profiting from a stable currency environment.
This is what we were taught at school to brainwash us into liking the Eurozone.
But reality shows us the downsides of all this.
On the downside of the equation for Italy and other economically weak countries is the fact that they lost their low value currencies.
They are now dealing with a strong currency while still having a weak economy. In the past, if your economy sucked you could just sell stuff at very low prices so you could stay competitive by devaluing your currency to match and balance off your weak economy – not anymore since the Euro came. (btw Poland is thriving because they didn’t get the Euro but kept their own currency – Poland’s economy even grew during the finacial crisis in 2009 when all other countries were struggling.)
This mismatch between currency value and economy creates a hole that sucks in all the money and destroys the country step by step. This hole exists as long as this mismatch exists.
And Germany pumps all its money into that hole in an attempt of damage control. That’s the huge downside of the Euro deal for Germany.
And the downside exceeds the profit by far, for both parties involved.
This situation leads to negative propaganda in Germany about “The parasites consuming all our money!” and negative propaganda in the poor country (especially Greece and Spain right now) about “Merkel and the evil Germans controlling us!”
This further leads to the peoples of each country growing resentment against each other and to such events like German tourists being beaten up in Greece.
Globalists tell us this system helps uniting the peoples of Europe and making it more peaceful, but quite the opposite is the case. As always.
Totally enjoyed your post. I’m a Sicilian who lives in the US and your comments are right-on. One thing I miss about the US when I visit Italy is organization and efficiency. Italians are dissatisfied with the government yet no one does anything to decrease its size and control and everyone expects the government to come to the rescue. My dad had a successful business in Sicily but bureaucracy and the high taxes were a constant struggle (one of the reasons why I’m a Libertarian). Unrelated to your post: your book The Unchained Man has opened my mind and enabled me to take control over my life. Great job and thank you.
(And by the way, most Americans are just like that too. As I’ve said, we’re all in this irrational death spiral together.)
Um…yeah, about those so called “1.2 billion Catholics,”…………you do realize that that number is garbage by virtue of the fact that both you (an agnostic) and me (an atheist) are officially counted as Catholics for the purposes of that false number, right?
When we got baptized as babies, the church gave our parents a certified baptismal certificate, while sending the original copy to Rome for the purposes of adding us to the “1.2 billion.” We are all officially counted in the Vatican’s statistics, unless the Pope officially excommunicates us.
So claiming that there are 1.2 billion Catholics, as per the Vatican’s official numbers, is an insult to you, me, and everyone else who was baptized and isn’t Catholic.
The Church inflates its own numbers with this scam! I predict there a less than 100 million people identifying themselves as Catholic, and less than 1,000 people who are true Catholics according to the doctrine.
Yeah, good point.
#9. My favorite part of the blog post because you did a great job by tying in Italy’s Catholic culture with the SP nonsense that men (Alpha 1.0) have to deal with. I’d be curious to know how Alpha 2.0’s are able to function in such a religious society.
In a religious society like the Muslim Middle East, they couldn’t.
But in a religious society like Italy, no problem. Italy is like the Philippines in that it’s very religious, but also very high sex drive and permissive. An Alpha 2.0 living in Italy would have no problem as long as he didn’t live full time in one of those small towns.
So the OLTR is official?
That means no more MLTR’s? How disappointing is that? I’m guessing most would pass on FB status, especially if any were in line to be an OLTR. Downgrades are always harder than upgrayyeds (spelled thusly)
My college dreams, shattered.
But Sicily sounds nice…
Yes. Since earlier this year. I’ve already stated this in past threads.
I’ve answered that in past threads too. Correct, I haven’t had any MLTRs for about a year now. I have had no problems maintaining FBs or getting new ones and never have. FBs are far less work than MLTRs, so being MLTR-free has actually been pretty nice.
I did not have to downgrade any MLTRs in this case. I just let them float away.
I will be writing posts about this OLTR relationship, in detail, in a few weeks. You guys just need to be patient.
Exactly. Those hot James Bond babes aren’t in Rome, but they are just a few hundred miles south in Sicily. 🙂
Do you ever develop feelings for another woman while in an OLTR ? Not necessarily as intense as the OLTR (I think you once stated that your “box” for very intense love could contain just 1 woman, but your MLTR box could take several). Is it a painful experience to have to keep away from the new woman ?
No problem! I have read many of your posts, and was under the impression that the OLTR was still in transition.
I am in no rush to hear about the OLTR situation. All the best and I hope it works great! It’s way above my level, though.
I’m looking to implement the Blackdragon basics. One MLTR, one FB (or two MLTR’s, I’m very experienced with women, just not non-monogamy).
Somehow, at 44, I’ve only had sex with one woman over 30 (over a few months, over a decade ago)…..at least since I was a teenager and slept with a few 40+ year olds. My last LTR of 4.5 years….I remember the day she was no longer less than half my age, but more than half my age (she was 19 when we started, I was 39). I won’t mention how we celebrated.
And……let me say her father is fucking great, we’re friends to this day. Any time I hear people assume “Daddy issues” it pisses me right off. That did not play into my situation at all. I remember being really concerned when I got her to talk about her father, and a wave of relief washed over me as she gushed about what a great guy he is.
I probably need some Blackdragon coaching to get back in the game. I blundered into that last hottie, and had people haranguing me to ask her out because I was too dense to see she liked me (she was a Type III by the way). I’m not in college anymore, so that scenario won’t repeat itself! And I’m not a thrill of the hunt guy, in any case.
hey dude . great post! will you ever do a post on sweden/finland/norway?
thing is im a light skinned indian dude (born in the US) .. n now i cant go to sweden cause the refugees ruined it for us legit brown dudes
.. can you reccomend a good european country that isnt to conservative and isnt bombarded by muslim refugeess?
Did you fuck any of these girls, or did you just walk around looking at them? Usually when a pickup guru talks about girls in a country, it’s how to meet them, how to game them, how to fuck them, how the sexual experiences differ than what the guy is used to. You know, getting laid type stuff. You analyzed their noses. Haha wtf?
Oh boy…where do I start. As an Albanian I know a great deal about Italy. Albanians are to Italy like Mexicans are to US. Only in the last decade Romanians have surpassed us as a minority when their country joined the EU. Southern Italy and Albania have a lot in common, culturally and even linguistically/ethnically.
The hatred for their government is justified, considering they are a leading economy in Europe(8th in the world), but are paying a high price. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that they are lazy, at least not compared to the rest of Europe. Germany has turned Italy into their bitch. They are doing lots of hostile takeovers of local manufacturing. They buy Italian companies, they shut them down and outsource it or reopen in Germany.
When you think about Engineering, you might think German, but Italian is on par if not better(Fiat, Lancia, Alpha Romeo, Ferrari, Maseratti, Ducati, Lamborghini, Vespa etc). It’s just the EU politics and regulations that have penalized southern Europe in general not just Italy. As an European, it sucks seeing this internal fighting, and being surpassed by Asian and Latin America countries.
They are also stuck with lots of illegal immigrants coming from North Africa, with very little financial support from the EU.
As far as flights. Having delays or change of gates is almost the norm there. I’ve had to deal with it every time I have a layover in Europe(Frankfurt, Vienna, Istanbul, Rome, Lyon etc) But then, I can’t complain that much, when you have so many Low Cost flights, where you can fly round-trip for less than $100 from one side of the continent to the other. I see in the picture that you used Rayanair, which offers cheap flights, and shitty service. But then again, I’ve had similar problems in the States too. I never expect flights to go as expected.
The reason you see hotties even in small towns is that the pace of life and mobility is much slower there than in the States, where hot women go where money and power is. So you get more evenly distributed numbers of hotties across Italy.
And they touch and hug a lot. I’ve had similar upbringing. Which has helped me apply your escalation tips while dating in the States. I feel no restrictions at all when it comes to PDA, which helps to stand out.
Since you liked Sicilian women I’d suggest you visit Southern France too. They have a Spaniard/Sicilian look, which I prefer over the pale and skinny look of their Northern sisters.
Yes. It will be a few years though.
Sounds like an excuse to me.
Europe is going down, faster than even the US. You should not move there or live there long-term if you value your future happiness. If you want to move to Eastern Europe just to fuck a few hot babes and then get the hell out of there in a few years, that would be fine, but you don’t want to plant your permanent flag anywhere in Europe, Western or Eastern. I talk about this in great detail over at my other blog.
You mean how Roosh just posted his Croatia review without fucking any girls? Strange that I didn’t see your “wtf why didn’t you fuck girls?” comment to him over there.
I’m not a sex tourist. I have sex around three times a week from multiple women already, so I don’t need to travel around the world to get it. (Though I do get laid when I travel sometimes; it depends on my schedule.)
If you want to design a lifestyle where you’re getting laid so much you don’t have to fly halfway around the world to get pussy, then you’re in the right place. But if you’re interested primarily in sex tourism, you’re reading the wrong blog and need to go elsewhere.
People tend to believe that Germany is sucked out by the weak Euro-countries. It is the other way around.
The country that benefits most from the Eurozone is Germany. The reason is that the weaker countries (Italy, Spain, Portugal,Greece…) cannot devalue their currency as they could before the Euro. They now compete with Germany in the same currency with relatively expensive labour etc. and lose.
Just look at the data. Germany is stronger than ever and Italy and Spain are losing ground. That is also the reason why the Germans fight for the Euro that hard. The sheep in the southern countries do not understand that and vote pro Euro.
Why is Switzerland not an option for you? it is nowwhere on your list
That leads into such a huge discussion that I’m not going to go there today, but the summary is that like with the UK, EU is good for the German elites, not its rank and file people, at least not in the long-term. But I’m not having that debate here; that’s a conversation for my other blog.
Yeah, better check that data again. German GDP growth was far better in the late 90s-early 2000s than it is today, so it’s not stronger than ever.
Correct, which is exactly why these countries may end up leaving the EU. Then what?
I’m sorry, but the EU fucking sucks and was doomed to failure from the very beginning. (And remember, I bash my own country more than Europe, so I’m being objective here.)
Yes it is. Look at my list right here. Zurich is in the second list.
You just had to compare yourself to Roosh. I guess an update on girl’s noses in Italy is useful stuff, maybe?
As a high sex drive male I’m not all that good with a long overseas trip absent pussy, “I’ve got pussy back home” wouldn’t cut it. I’d want to experience the women in full, not analyze their facial features from a distance. Whatever though, different strokes. Was a funny read though, the Italian women nose update.
In a 14 page article, the only info you read was about noses?
Yeah, you’re at the wrong blog dude. Go troll somewhere else.
I read the “women” section first, since that is the cornerstone of this blog and the main attractor for readers. And that’s what was there. Its on you man, you spent the women section on noses and compliments about looking young. I found that funny. Don’t blame me here.
Did you ask why they didn’t move the jet bridge to the aircraft? I’m assuming they (the airline for the flight) didn’t pay for it or it’s broken.
It will reach, those things can extend a lot.
But the plane can’t park more to its left. They have to taxi in along the yellow lines.
Good chance for funny photo though. Haha!
This was beautifully written and moving, BD. Especially the part about the architecture and history. I’ve enjoyed keeping up with your travels and I think it’s an incredible gesture to your mom. Made me smile 🙂
They probably didn’t use the Jet bridge because the moving part is broken and no one fixed it so it doesn’t move. Hence, the walk down stairs out of plane, across the tarmac, up stairs to jet way. Infrastructure problem.
Oh my god! I’m a regular Reader of BD, I’m from Palermo and now I live in Rome! It would be great to have a beer together!
BD you’d make a great travel writer. Superb article, really loved the intricate descriptions.
What Felix said.
I’m already back in the States, but next time!
Thank you. I considered being a travel writer many years ago, but decided there wasn’t enough money in it. 🙂
“As many children as the father can possibly afford (and sometimes even more than that”
Actually, Italy has has one of the worst demographic profiles in the entire world-an average of 1.43 children per women. Some even put the fertility rate at 1.35. In other words, the nation is pretty much halving each generation. By 2050, 60% of Italians won’t even have brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts or uncles.
Basically, it is a pure demographic catastrophe.
I know. I wasn’t talking about all fathers in Italy. Just Alpha Male 1.0 fathers, particularly in the south. I also said “as much as they can afford,” and being Italy, most Alphas can’t afford very many kids.
Anyway, it’s not just Italy. White people all over the world aren’t reproducing enough to maintain their population. In 100-150 years there will be no more white people.
Nice write up.
On the subject of Italian women there are two polar extremes in Italy. The hot women are at both ends. You identified the awesome Sicilian women but the other end of the scale is Northern Italy – the Veneto, Trentino, Lombardy regions. Very hot women up there – tall, leggy, blonde, regal noses and high cheekbones. In the middle of the country the women are average by comparison as you discovered.
Also on food, yes the Italians eat a lot but you may have noticed that there are very few fat people. The reason is that they don’t eat breakfast and they very rarely snack, (except for a gelato here and there but they’re still made from natural ingredients). So by the time they sit down for lunch or dinner they’re ready for a big meal which then fills them up so they don’t feel the temptation to snack. Trying to find food outside the formal lunch and dinner hours is next to impossible outside the very big cities.
On the political structure, Italy has been on a slow but steady descent into second world status since the 1980s. They had their boom time in the 60s and 70s and they’ve been squandering and living off that ever since. The situation is now unrecoverable by the normal political process. My prediction is for a Balkanization of the Italian provinces similar to Yugoslavia within the next twenty years.
This is how it was when I lived in Mexico for a couple of years. It’s kinda crazy how people can drive like that, and not get into many accidents. But I guess those conditions make for more alert and thus better drivers. They really can’t afford to be distracted like Americans can.
By the way how did you manage with the language barrier, did they speak English? I don’t remember you saying you speak Italian.
I’m from Palermo and I lived there for the first 32 years of my life. Then I moved in Rome, so I know what I’m talking about. The Alpha Male 2.0 lifestyle is not impossible but it’s REALLY HARD to obtain. Societal programming have a monstruous power in Italy, especially in the southern Italy. Serial monogamy is considered the only socially acceptable type of relationship. Since from their youth, girls tend to find the socially and family approved (and loved) “perfect boyfriend”™ and to enter really long LTRs that lasts to their early 30s when they decide “to marry or to break up”. A girl who enters a FB or a MLTR relationship is easily considered a “slut”. Often they do it anyway but tend to keep it a secret. A vast percentage of girls are terrified by the idea of being a FB of someone and it’s not hard to find girls who pretend commitment before sex. And yes, I know some girls in Palermo who waited their wedding before giving sex. A couple of them are really hot too. All of this is amplified by the fact that italians (and especially sicilians) social dynamics are based on strong and really closed social circles, so the approval of the group and the personal reputation are idestructible pillars. The situation in Rome is slightly better, probably due to the presence of more open-minded foreign people and especially for girls born in the 90s.
Didn’t I tell you, BD, that it would be near impossible to keep hard your diet visiting your distant relatives? In SICILY!
Everyone in Italy knows it, a relative from south will offer you litterally TONS of the best food of the area and wiil be proud of this, and feel deeply offended if you refuse. Sicily is the peak of this sense of hospitality.
BTW most of your impressions are correct but not completely.
I’m italian, born in Milan from southern parents and living in Rome since I was six years old so I think I can tell you. Rome is full of immigrants of every part of the country, mostly from south, and from middle east-north africa second or third generation that it’s hard to distinguish from true italians. True roman people here are very rare. I myself have met not many of them in all my life. They moved to the suburbian areas or elsewhere many years ago. I don’t see this prevalence of “long faces with big noses” that you report. The typical italian woman is small, brown haired darker or lighter till near blonde, round faces sometimes cute sometimes not. Big noses are more common in south where there is a historically middle eastern heritage (added with the immigration). Don’t know much about women in Sicily, haven’t been there since I was ten. My brother’s wife is sicilian but she’s tall and blonde. Generally the girls are taller and lighter in the north of the country.
Yes, I’m aware that the driving (and the traffic) here looks insane to strangers but we’re kind of used to it. Also there are too cars for our tight streets cities. I tell you that you should have been in Napoli before writing that in Rome it’s insane!.
You are sadly right about the third world infrastructures. Sad but true. I’ve traveled myself a bit and I can tell that Spain is much better, England is better, Czech Republic is better and so France, Sweden, Ireland( even if public transport is bad there) and Germany. I’ve seen resemblances in Portugal and in Greece. My compatriots don’t understand how much of a loss are all these fails for our economy. Italy’s treasure is the incomparable historic and artistic patrimony : 95,000 monumental churches, 40,000 forts and castles, 30,000 historical residences with 4,000 gardens, 36,000 archives and libraries, 20,000 historical cities and towns, 5,600 museums and archaeological sites, and 1,500 convents. Our country is above China ,that is as ancient and many times wider, in the UNESCO lists. Infrastructures should be up to the level of this patrimony.
Our second tresaure is, as you said , food and wine. We have some of the best products in the world. German and French firms products and exports fake italian chesees and salumi , stealing names like parmesan, mozzarella etc. They fake our own marks. Many of the “italian” products you’ll find around the world are falsified from China, Mexico, Brazil and even US. Same thing for our tomatoes (san marzano, pachino, etc.) tomato sauces, and olive oils. It’s called “Italian Sounding” and it’s worth of 60 billions per year. Italian food export, say, it’s 23 billions. Think how much stupid we are. At least in the EU all this fake stuff should be banned.
Two more things about food: we DON’T eat spaghetti with meatballs. Never seen any beside some tourist restaurants.
And in Bologna people are still wandering who’s ever invented “spaghetti bolognese”. Bolognese is a meat sauce (a ragù) used on tagliatelle and on lasagna.
Only partially true. As I said in the article, people under the age of about 45 are very trim like most Europeans, that’s true. But old people in Italy are quite fat. They don’t age well (based on what I saw anyway).
And I promise you that if I ate like that, I would be fat.
I don’t speak Italian at all. My mom knows a few basic words and phrases. Navigating Rome with no Italian is fine; enough people speak English or broken English to make it work. Navigating coastal Sicily with just English is more difficult, but workable. Virtually no one in the interior of Sicily speaks English, so unless you have a translator you’re on your own. Even our hosts at the bed and breakfast we stayed at spoke zero English.
When we were in the small Sicilian villages, we had a host (a close family friend) who spoke English and was able to translate for us whenever he was around. When he wasn’t around, we were on our own. Not a big deal, since I’m accustomed to spending large amounts of time in places where zero English is spoken (China for example). I don’t care. Outcome independence.
Oh yeah, I didn’t mention the tight streets. I have no idea how people corner on those damn things (90-degree turns with zero visibility) without crashing into each other.
That’s the reason. People don’t care.
Every time I see shitty infrastructure in the first world, and I mean every time, that’s what I see: lackadaisical locals shrugging their shoulders about it. “Yeah. So what?”
Yep. If you cared, you guys would fucking fix it.
It’s entirely intentional that the Ryanair plane in your photo is not using the jetbridge.
It is faster to load/unload passengers using both doors of the aircraft, and avoids using expensive airport equipment. Depending on the airport, passengers can begin disembarking from their aircraft within FOUR minutes of landing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVxPBeu2PaI). Ryanair is an ultra efficient low fares airline and this is just an example of how they minimize time spent on the ground, where the aircraft isn’t making money.
This might mean standing out in the rain every so often, but hey, there’s plenty of bloated inefficient state-subsided unionized airlines that will be happy to charge you significantly more to stay dry. Personally, I’d prefer to spend that money elsewhere.
And just to bring this back a little on topic, here’s a clip of the Ryanair CEO talking about blowjobs.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfIY24BErBE
Then they could have used the jetway to load the first half of the plane and the outside stairs to load the rear half. Why force the folks in the first half of the plane, including little old ladies, to lug their bags up and down two flights of stairs, and go outside, for literally no reason? Answer: Because of infrastructure problems, either those caused by technical problems or those caused by stupid laws/regulations.
Then why don’t Asian “ultra efficient low fares airlines” have this issue?
I’ve flown many, that were even cheaper than Ryanair for crossing equivalent distances, and not once did I have lug my shit up and down two flights of stairs and walk outside because they didn’t want to use a jetway that was literally sitting right here.
Comparing Ryanair to other European airlines just helps prove my point. They’re “efficient” for Europe.
Now that’s what I like about Europe. You’re all so chill about sex over there. The US could seriously use some of that.
Ryanair planes never park at the gates because the Ryanair airline cuts the costs by avoiding airport services like passenger gates and airport buses. Ryanair passengers always walk to the airplane and back.
Hi BD, i live in a small town in Sicily and i agree with almost everything you said about our land.
I’m in the minority of people who aren’t in an “Alpha 1.0 father” family but i can say that is very difficult for at least 80% of male Sicilian undertake the Alpha 2.0 path because of the way our culture and society is built. The pressure from the family almost obliges Sicilian men to be Alpha 1.0 since men that don’t run a traditional family are viewed as weak from others. There’s hope in the new generations since the cultural level is going up a little bit and the societal pressure is decreasing with time.
I agree with the fact that Italy, and in particular Sicily should be classified as a third world country. Our best minds keep immigrating to the north of Italy, Germany and England to seek better fortune, like people coming from real third world countries to Europe or USA. The level of corruption in our society can be compared to that of sub-Saharan countries and sometimes i feel that being a law abiding citizen drags you down if you are trying to run some kind of bussiness.
A little note to the explanation of Sicilian level of beauty in females. Immigration from Romania is strong but close to irrelevant in terms of beauty of our population since Romanian women tend to live secluded into their communities and in general are not seen in public very much (apart from those that work as hookers). Also there are few “interracial” couples due to strong racism. I think our genetics, in terms of beauty, are just better than the Romans.
P.s. sorry for my english but, as you may know, our school system sucks and most people don’t even speak Italian well and the majority speaks Sicilian dialect (which can be considered a language in its own right)
I find myself agreeing with BD’s ideas but wonder about his views on travel. 🙂 I lived in Hong Kong when I was younger and I’ve been in Vancouver for a long time.
HK food is great but I find it hard to believe they are #1. Japan (anywhere) still holds that title in my books. Amazing food pretty much anywhere you go. You can find better food in a 7 Eleven that tastes way better than expensive food I can find in Vancouver. And that’s just 7 Eleven.
As for women in Vancouver, I really wish it was true that we are on the low end of attractive. What I see are low end of average. The best ones are all in the downtown area and even then there aren’t that many. May be just a matter of personal taste. Played with Tinder in Van, Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei… in the Asian cities listed, I had to like almost every entry for all the hotties and cuties. In Van? Swipe left most of the time due to all the fatties and uglies. And this happens pretty much every time I launch the app, not just one unlucky round.