28 March 2011

True Southern Hospitality

Friendly Lucania

It seems to be a common thread in guide books about Basilicata that it is populated by unfriendly people who are suspicious of everyone. This is also repeated on several websites; apparently no one does their own research they just copy what others write without fact checks.

They are wrong, or they just have never been to Basilicata!

Our experiences in the land known as Lucania have proven to be just the opposite.

From our first visit to this area almost ten years ago we found the people to be open, hospitable and welcoming. If we would be touring a town and just say buongiorno to someone, more often than not they would then start up a conversation, usually surprised that we were not Italians. Frequently we would be offered caffé or perhaps a tip on what to see. We never felt uncomfortable or that the people were suspicious of us.

Since we purchased our home our experience with Lucanian hospitality has been heartwarming. We have been invited to the homes of numerous people for meals, been given fruits, vegetables, meats and even homemade wine. When I started asking about sources for firewood to heat our house several people offered to deliver wood, take me to the local forest to collect wood or drive me in their truck to the local wood yard to load up.

Sometimes It Takes a Village.

Even our experiences with the dreaded Italian burocrazia have been unusually pleasant. When we renewed our PdiS’s in November the officers at the immigration office were friendly and talkative. When we signed up for the health system in January they were apologetic for having to research how to enroll Americans, we were their first.

Shop owners and their employees are all friendly and inquisitive. This is frequently helped when they learn where we live and undoubtedly they have some relative from the same town.

We live in a small town and everyone knows who we are, however we are still learning who everyone else is. Though this is a small town we do not get the impression that has been the complaint of some other people that small towns are where people “peer” into your lives, we do find people who express a concern for how we are adjusting to a new country.

We know more of our neighbors by their first name and have eaten in more of their homes in the five months we have been in our small town than we did in a year living in Northern Virginia.

If you want to experience true Southern Hospitality…Basilicata is a must on your next trip to Italy!


Laura said...

Thank you for sharing this! That is how I imagine it to be.

Bryan said...

Laura - Come to Basilicata and experience it yourself!