George MIkes on Italy Roma Piazza Navona
George MIkes on Italy Roma Piazza Navona

What can possibily happen in the world at large that cannot happen in the Via San Pietro? Sex, money, crime, it’s all happening there all the time and one personally knows the whole cast. As for reading newspapers?… What can a statesman say anywhere in the world that the Romans did not say much better many centuries ago?
George Mikes

In the Church of San Giovanni (One of the finest Renaissance churches in Italy) you can see Tintoretto’s masterpiece, “Madonna with Four Saints”. In the Church of San Giacomo you can see Botticelli’s masterpiece, “Two Saints with the Madonna”. In the Church of San Bartolomeo do not miss Tiepolo’s huge canvas, “Madonna with Twenty Three Saints”. In the chapel of San Marco, the focus of attention is Perugino’s small painting, “Madonna with just One Saint”.
George Mikes

The ideological mix-up is a natural, exasperating and, at the same time, endearing feature in this country of fierce individualists. There are seventy-five political parties in Italy – although not all are represented in parliament. Most of these parties are very small but even the smallest can boast of a sharp and unbridgeable ideological split. There is a party which has only one single member. He is schizophrenic.
George Mikes

On one occasion a shopkeeper told me – and I know he was speaking the truth – that he bought nylon stockings at 400 lire and sold them at 2,000. I asked him weather he was a notorious and exceptionally rapacious robber. He assured me that, on the contrary, he was well known and widely honoured for his moderation and self-denial.
George Mikes

Prices in Italy are only slightly lower than in France, which means that Italy is a very expensive country for everyone, natives, visitors and tourists.
George Mikes

Hotel bills are scrupulously honest all over Italy… The only case which puzzled me occured in Naples. I wondered whether they were justified in adding 230 lire for heating to my bill in early June.
George Mikes

The Cathedral of this ancient and beautiful city of ……….* is of particular interest. It is the third largest Cathedral in Italy. It is a magnificent Gothic building (not pure Gothic but pure enough for the vast majority of tourists). The Italians, in their outlandish way, like to refer to the Cathedral as Il Duomo. * Fill in the name of the city with pencil. Rub it afterwards.
George Mikes

The main characteristic of English conversation is that no one ever speaks; of Italian that everyone speaks at the same time. One iron law reigns supreme in Italian conversation: the survival of the loudest.
George Mikes

Italians intellectuals are few and far between. This is not a derogatory statement; nor is it a praise… Italy can boast of a number of intellectuals – brilliant and witty. But their number is small – much smaller than in France, England or Germany. The Italians, as a nation, do not read much. Observe a rush hour crowd in London or New York on the one hand and in Rome on the other. In London and New York one person in ten will be without a paper; in Rome one in ten will have a paper. The Italians will watch the women in the bus or tram, the crowd in the street or the passing shop-windows but they do not read.
George Mikes

The Italians may be clever and quick-witted but they are not intellectuals. They lack wanderlust, indeed, most of them lack intellectual curiosity in every shape and form.
George Mikes

Italians are not in business “to serve the public” but to make money and get rich quickly.
George Mikes

Read also:

https://www.english-culture.com/short-news-about-italy/
https://www.english-culture.com/george-mikes-and-the-english-language/
https://www.english-culture.com/george-mikes-quotations/
https://www.english-culture.com/george-mikes-and-tsi-tsa/
https://www.english-culture.com/george-mikes-reflections/

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