Our Italian Connection.


For those of you who are regular readers of our blog you will most likely know about our love of Italy. We have shared many Italian recipes on here over the years and talked about our favourite Italian foods, places, people and memories. For those of you who are new to our blog, hello and welcome, and for those that may have missed a post or two and wondered why we talk about Italy so much, today we thought we would delve deeper into the reason behind our passion for Italy and chat about what connects us to this amazing country so strongly. This post is inspired by the beautiful @kellysdolcevita @mammaprada and @questadolcevita over on Instagram and their fabulous #DolceVitaBloggers

We often have a debate with our Dad over whether or not we are half Italian; we like to think that we are, but he disagrees. We follow this logic: yes our Mum was born in England but her bloodline is Italian. It's something we never really stopped to think about until we got older, but we think is pretty cool - all of her Aunts, Uncles and Cousins are in Italy. She has no relatives bar Nanna and Grandad and her siblings in England. This little fact is enough to convince us that we are half Italian, but our Dad argues that Mum was born in England and so were we, thus making us 100% British. In doing a bit of research it seems people's opinions vary on how to decide your Nationality. Some say it's where your parents were born and others say where you were born. What are your thoughts?

That in a nutshell is where our connection to Italy comes from - our Nanna and Grandad on our Mum's side. They are both from little villages along the Amalfi Coast; an absolutely stunning part of Italy. We consider ourselves extremely lucky that family visits mean a trip to The Amalfi Coast. People save up to visit this beautiful coastline and many have it on their bucket lists, but nestled on the mountainside, in the picturesque fishing village of Praiano, is the house our Nanna grew up in. Our Auntie Rosetta still lives there to this day and we are beyond fortunate that we are welcome there with open arms anytime. We adore Nannas' sisters and brother.


When we were four years old we visited our family in Italy for the first time and stayed in Sorrento. Nanna and Grandad used to own a flat there. We don't remember too much about this trip apart from eating spaghetti around the table together in the flat, watching a parade from our balcony, visiting Praiano and helping our Auntie's cook and spending time on the pebbled beaches. When we were thirteen we went back to Italy and stayed in Praiano, again lots of fishing, beach time and cooking ensued and we fell in love with our Auntie's two dogs and twenty plus rabbits. Not too long after that we went to visit our Auntie Josephine in Padova, another gorgeous part of Italy, and while there went on a day trip to Venice. We loved exploring Italy and adored it more and more each time we went. This past summer, after fifteen or so years, we spent a little time back in Praiano to lay our Grandad to rest. It was the hardest, most heartbreaking thing we have ever had to do, but it further cemented our unwavering love for the place. Our Nanna and Grandad are our everything and we are so incredibly proud of who they are and where they came from.

As kids we never really thought too much into Nanna and Grandad being different or sounding different in England. Nanna used to worry that we would be embarrassed by them in front of our friends, but she needn't have worried. It never occurred to us that other people may not understand their broken English or that kids might find their accents funny. We understood them perfectly and loved them unconditionally, so it didn't matter what anyone thought. We screamed 'Love you' from the front door step when we were leaving, hugged them tight no matter who was watching and preferred being at their house above all else. Even throughout our teen years, Nanna and Grandad's house was the coolest place to hang out and time spent there was at the top of our list of priorities. Weekend sleepovers with Nanna and Grandad, staying up drinking Marsala and eating lady fingers with Grandad, well, nothing made us happier.


To us the TV shows, food and delicious treats were also the norm. Then we got older and the older we got the more we began to truly appreciate our Italian roots and what it meant. Yes, all those things were still very much normal, but they started to mean so much more. We understood not all kids knew the delights of Baci, (Italian chocolate kisses) or eagerly awaited Christmas simply because of the joy of Pandoro smothered in Nanna's custard. We realized not everyone got to dig into three course meals EVERY lunch time and sometimes dinner. We learnt not all kids knew who Topogio was and that getting overly excited over cheese might not be something most kids do.

Furthermore, we grew up with a Nanna who is very much a typical Italian Nonna. She worries about us, fusses over us and looks after us like no other. We got a Grandad, an incredible, wise and brilliant Grandad, who loved to cook for us and feed us. His biggest passion in life was his family and he loved us, cared for us and thought about us every second of the day. We are proud Brits and certainly get a lot of traits from our Dad, but it's safe to say that we grew up with a lot of Italian tradition and that there are a number of things that our family do in typical Italian fashion. Our friends never left our house hungry. The minute they walked through our door Mum asked them if they had eaten and then proceeded to make them food. (she still does) Whenever we were heading out to go to the gym or go to the shops we would be asked (and still get asked) where we were going and given the list; "it's too cold out," "do you have to go now," "you can go tomorrow," "what time will you be back?" and meal times were, and are, always important. We sat with our family, we appreciated our food and always said thank you for it. These are just a few things that makes us smile but there are many an Italian Meme out there that we find ourselves nodding our heads and laughing at with a tear in our eye. Anyone else get threatened with a wooden spoon if you misbehaved as a child?

In short, nowadays, we adore learning more about the country, culture, language and food from where our Grandparents came from. We are incredibly proud of our heritage and are so happy to be meeting more people with a connection to Italia!

We could be here all day talking about our Italian connection but we hope this has given you a little more insight in where our love of Italy comes from. We would love to hear about your Italian connection, so please share links or leave comments below. :)


Buona Giornata!

Auguri.

24 comments :

  1. Hi, so glad to get to know you, I am going to join the Italian link-up as well :)
    The question of the "identity" is quite tricky, but scholars have realized that at the very end you are what you decide to be. There are people with ancestors belonging to multiple cultures in their family and they have just to decide if they want to embrace their mixed identity or pick and pursue just one culture. I think that in our modern society, though, we have to accept that mixed identity is something to be proud of, and one is not required to choose just one aspect of the family heritage :) Multi-culturalism is always an enrichment!

    I live not very far from Padova, btw ;)

    Ciao, Sara.

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    1. Ciao Sara, It's so good to 'meet' you. We're excited to read your post! :) We definitely agree with you, it's very much enriching to learn and embrace another culture. We feel incredibly lucky that Italy happens to be a part of who we are. We might be biased but we think we got the best country! ;)

      That's so cool. We have to visit again soon!

      xx

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  2. Hello!
    Loved to read the story of your connection to Italy. If you ask me, being fed at all times, having to cover up properly when you go out and knowing Topogigio totally makes you two Italian! :D

    On a more serious note, you do have Italian heritage and a big passion for the country, so I think it's up to you to decide if you want to consider yourself half Italian. There is no right or wrong here, so embrace your "Italianness"! :)

    A presto,
    Elena

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    1. Hi Elena, haha yay!!! That makes us so happy! Isn't Topogigio the best?! We still remember the theme tune to his movie from when we were kids! :)

      Thank you so much, we love embracing our Italianness and are so happy we can celebrate it with wonderful people like you! Thank you very much for reading our post!

      Lucy and Kelly xx

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  3. Great to connect and read your story through this link up.It's wonderful sharing our stories about our passion for beautiful Italy. Lorelle :)
    https://amindfultravellerblog.wordpress.com/

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    1. Hi Lorelle, thank you so much for finding us through this link up. We absolutely love it. We are enjoying reading everyone's posts so much and think it's amazing that we all get to connect and share our passion for Italy with each other!
      Lucy and Kelly xx

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  4. This is such a lovely story! It's so nice to think how bits of Italian culture have been woven into your lives almost without you realising it. This is why I always try and keep up with doing the little things that make my family half English/Italian. Even food and recognising festivals like Ferragosto. I think they start to seep into your consciousness and you do start to see yourself as having a multicultural identity. It must be really important to your relatives as well knowing that you are proud enough of that side of your heritage to embrace it! Thank you for joining #DolceVitaBloggers and sharing such a great post. It's so nice getting to know everyone! xx

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    1. Aww you are the best. Thank you so so much for creating this wonderful link up and idea. We adore #DolceVitaBloggers and are thoroughly enjoying meeting all you amazing people and reading everyone's stories about their Italian connection, they are just beautiful and make us happy. You are wonderful and we think it's fantastic that you raising your children with both English and Italian culture and languages. We hope to get really good with our Italian and do the same for our kids too. They will know all about their great Nanna and Grandad! :) Thank you again! xxxx

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  5. I loved this story! It's so interesting how although your grandparents left Italy, they always shared a part of it with your and your family. And I'm sure your friends used to love coming round your house to eat delicious Italian food!

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    1. Aww that means a lot, thank you. Yes, we love and truly appreciate that Nanna and Grandad taught us so much about Italy and that we got to visit and learn about their culture and where they came from. Grandad was so incredibly passionate about his home and Nanna misses it terribly. Haha, that's true, they never ever left hungry! Thank you for reading Abigail. Lucy and Kelly xx

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  6. Thanks Lucy and Kelly! It so cool you write in the plural "we", like you're one person! I don't have any Italian heritage, but I feel more and more Italian everyday.

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    1. Haha, we are terrible at always saying 'we'!! We do it even when we are not near each other! :p We are usually sat with each other working on blog posts, so it's not too bad when we do it on here, but we confuse people when we are out and about on our own! :) Aww that's lovely! xxx

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  7. This is so cool! Must be really exciting for you :D
    I actually would love to know my connections too.

    ZEKALIN

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    1. Aww it is, we get very passionate about our connection! Aww you should definitely ask family and try and find your connections and relations! :) xx

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  8. I find your question about 'nationality' really relevant at the moment! As a teacher I've had to deal with Italian children name-calling and even bullying children whose parents come from another country. Even though the child is born in Italy and only knows Italian culture and maybe even language, they still are not considered 'Italian'. On paper nationality is one thing, but which nationality you personally identify with is quite another. I think it really depends on how much of a connection you feel to the country...Anyway serious bit over :) Love your description of you with your grandparents, and yes you were certainly lucky to know about baci chocolates and Pandoro when you were younger! Italian Nonne are best, I live in the Veneto with my boyfriend but his nonna is from Basilicata and the first time I met her (and even now) I couldn't understand a word of her dialect, and yet she showed me kindness and generosity just thought food and gestures!

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    1. Aww that's so sad. We really feel schools and families should really put an emphasis on trying to teach other languages and cultures. I know they do have lessons and we try and teach many festivals but we can always do more. We feel bad that we never cared for learning French at school because all we cared about and wanted to do was Italian, but now we think we still should have payed attention because knowing languages is so valuable. We have a little girl where we work who is Italian and her Dad made a book for her to give to teachers, it has Italian words and English translations, so if she ever says anything they don't understand, they can check the book, and Kelly and I try and speak to her in Italian whenever we can! :) That parent/teacher connection is so important. We hope the children stopped bullying. Aww thank you, they are everything to us. :) Baci are the best! Oh wow, that's amazing, Veneto is beautiful! Aww it's crazy how the dialect can change, even just a little, and then throw you off. That's so lovely. Nonna's are pretty special. xxx

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  9. Hi girls! I think I figured it out, I have to "preview" the post first and then it publishes. I think I've written this comment five times haha. All I wanted to say is I'm so happy you've joined us and so honored that you're helping us spread the word to so many people. Your nonni seem wonderful and what an experience to get to know a place as beautiful as the Amalfi Coast as you probably did. Please keep me updated with your Italian learning, I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to Italian too, I love love love it so would love hearing how ya'll are doing and what you're studying! #DolceVitaBloggers for the win!

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    1. Hi Jasmine, thank you for not giving up!! :p We know, we are very lucky, besides home, it's our favourite place in the world. It definitely feels like we belong when we're there! :) We will do, we would love any advice you have on picking up the language. I've (kelly) completed all 5 levels in Rosetta Stone Italian and although it taught me a lot of words I never knew and helped me read a lot better to Nanna and Grandad, sadly I can't say I'm fluent yet, not in the slightest. How did you learn? Yay we agree #DolceVitaBloggers for the win! :) xx

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  10. Lucy and Kelly,

    You had me in stitches! "Wooden spoon..." and "we would be asked (and still get asked) where we were going..."

    My mum called the wooden spoon the "guciarda". We knew she was mad when she threatened us with it! The funniest thing is she never used it. It was always just a threat but it was the ultimate threat! �� This article brought back so many memories for me!! Thank you both for the great article!!

    Angela Williams

    www.angela-williams.org

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    1. Hi Angela!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. It makes us happy that you can relate! :) Our Mum never used it either, it was always, like you said, the ultimate threat! Once it fell down the back of the cupboard and our brother started gloating to Mum like "Haha now you can't use it!" he was only young and clearly didn't know how easy it was to get another wooden spoon! :p Ahh the memories!

      Buona Giornata!

      xx

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  11. What a fun post! I grew up in the US, but with a British mum and so I grew up with a mix of traditions. Now, after spending a number of years in the Netherlands, and living with an Italian for 16 years, I've added some of those traditions into my life, too. The more the merrier -- and more food to enjoy. ;)

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    1. Oh wow! You must have so many different and fun traditions, that's quite the mix! :) Yes food...the more the better! :D Thank you for reading! xx

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  12. I've always wanted to visit Italy and experience the culture there, and these pictures are darn beautiful! :) Tania Michele xx

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    1. Thank you Tania! You must go! We took them this past summer. It's just a peaceful and idyllic place that the pictures don't even do it justice! Definitely visit when you can! :)

      xx

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