Tuesday, November 15, 2011
up the stairs in italy
in addition to bidets in every hotel bathroom, italy also has a lot of stairs both inside and outside. few small hotels have elevators so i walked up 55 stairs (i counted) in siena after checking in, and up again after going down 55 stairs for breakfast—and again, up and down, up and down, several times a day.
in the hill towns of orvietto, montepulciano and siena, and the more mountainous tignale, stairs are everywhere. if you want to get to visit these places you have to go up, sometimes by car and then eventually on foot. alleyways between buildings go up (and back down after you go up), cathedrals are up, piazzas are up, restaurants are up, peoples' homes are up. of course not every "up" is reached by stairs. the cobbled roads go up, too. but stairs are inevitable. you go up hundreds of them in places built along the steep sides and tops of hills.
italians eat well and drink well (and so did we in our travels around italy)—hearty soups, wine and cheese, meat and olives, vegetables and desserts—bring on the antipastos, the primos, the secondos, the contornos, the dolces!—but i rarely saw a fat person in italy. the fattest person i came across was german.
italians are fit people. they walk a lot. they walk up a lot. who needs a gym when you spend your day tackling hills and stairs in order to get from here to there.