Ciao Italia! Baci & Abbracci?

One of the first things that made me fall in love with Italy and its people is the greeting. The warm friendly handshake or hug followed by the double kiss on the cheek.  Whether exchanged with friends or family this one small gesture can change your whole mood. Especially if it’s the prequel to a big traditional Italian meal or a night out with friends.   If there is one gesture that is unmistakably Italian, it’s the “Baci & Abbracci”.

     In the age of COVID-19, will this become a thing of the past? Has the current pandemic changed the   way Italians greet their guests, friends and family forever? Many say no, but the actions of the people tell a different story. We live in a small village just an hour from Rome. We chose this village because it’s our ancestral home.   Over 15 generations of our family have lived in Pendenza.  We are one of many other families that have lived in the area for generations as well.   Together we persevered through many other events that have shaped our modern history.  Still to this day you can join in on a card game with the elders of the village and they can still recall when the Nazis stormed the town and invaded their homes. May had to host and cook what little food they had for them against their will. Many did not survive because of famine.  Generally, on the end of the event there was celebration. There were gatherings people playing music and all sharing meals.  The return of happy Italian life!

     As the situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to improve here in Italy, the people especially the older generation seem permanently changed.  Even in areas like mine where we have had ZERO cases, neighbors who have known each other their entire lives greet one another with a wave.  Front porches once filled with visiting neighbors, lively conversations and afternoon aperitives are now empty.  Many in Italy have even chosen not to tend to their orchard this year.  Driving through the neighboring towns the sentiment is much of the same. Many have traded social distancing for staying home.  Even though new positives and deaths are going down every day, the people seem fundamentally changed.  Is this exercising prudent precautionary measures, or is this the new normal?

     We are “Tex-Pats” Texans living in Italy.  As Texans the culture, people and way of live is what inspired us to move to Italy.  The level of safety and community you will find here among the villages of Italy, is a way of live decades gone in other parts of the world. Friendships forged here are deep, genuine and lifelong.  We are hoping these friendships, our vibrant communities and families will get us back to where we were before the pandemic. Warmer weather is here, and summer activities are on our minds.  As we go into this season, we must remember to take the necessary precautions. We must ensure we safeguard our families, friends and neighbors.  The sooner we beat this the sooner we can get back to our way of live.   

Baci & Abbracci

Armand Giovannotto



2 thoughts on “Ciao Italia! Baci & Abbracci?

  1. Giulia Raffaelli

    Hi Armand, your post is totally true. To us it’s a real and deep sufference not to touch, not to hug each other: it’s like losing a third of our ability to communicate. We still have our ears and mouth indeed, but our hands, our gestures…we miss them so much. However, if your wanders take you and your family near Siena or Arezzo let me know, I’ll be glad to guide you, or give you some tips about food, wine and museums. have a good weekend

  2. Giordana Romano

    Interesting to read.

Leave a Reply