AROUND EUROPE: the ITALIAN GENTLEMEN
It takes seven hours to get from Rome to Milano by coach. The drive leaves the station at 11 pm, arrives at destination at 7 a.m. and it is by far one to remember. Because of google translate.
Greogorio is wearing white shirt, red tie with blue stripes, black suit pants and a navy blue jacket. With his raven black hair, freshly shaven, he seems to be in his twenties. He is greeting politely all the passengers and checks their tickets while Stefano, his workmate is checking something on the coach’s dashboard. Later on, amidst roars of laughter provoked by google translate that keeps bringing into discussion a certain Bernard (the odd Italian equivalent to have been), I find out another interesting story. The young Italian – he is 30, who works as a driver for Baltour Italia, is, actually, an artist. He was born on the Neapolitan coast, in Salerno, which he sees as the most beautiful city of Italy. He lived in Rome for a while but it was too expensive so he and his family moved back to his hometown. In the good old days he used to create on computer designs for building sculptures: the carvings in a tall wall, the rail of indoor stairs, the exquisite model on a marble floor. “I love this job but I had to quit because the pay is low. I needed to find something else to make a living.” Gregorio decided to turn one of his hobbies into a profession and followed into his father’s footsteps, becoming a professional driver. He used to take him along his journeys across the country while still a kid. I want to tell him not to give up his gift but, as if reading my mind, google translate displays the following words: ‘everything at its time”.
At seven o clock in the morning, my eyes still glued with sleep, I meet Luigi Di Domenicis. He has a colonel’s impecable and elegant appearance, yet the charming smile of a man of the world. And, as I later discovered, a heart of gold. He knows all the best places in Milano (I will write about it in a future post), loves modern architecture and icecream. He is the kind of man who helps a woman out a car or put on her coat. Who knows that flowers aren’t just for anniversaries or funerals and breakfast in bed can make an ordinary day, extraordinary. Is he for real? Yes, he is. So they say all his colleagues he supports whenever necessary. As coordinator of the Baltour drivers in the Milan area, Luigi gets to spend more days at home than most of his colleagues. But he never hesitate to help a driver and replace him just to allow him to spend one more day with his family. Most of the drivers don’t live in Milano, on the contrary, far away. Luigi has been in the transportation industry for 30 years and says that his love for people made him last that long. He loves travelling – to exotic destinations and drives a sporty Alfa Romeo.
It appears that sometimes it is worth opening a book instead of judging it by its cover.