Whether you speak Italian, or just like the sound of it, listening to a good storyteller is something that transcends language. Consider the physical expressions, atmosphere, people around the table. These are part of the storytelling context. Good storytelling is the art of communication. It puts you in the picture as a witness to events. The storyteller is a conduit of traditions passed on from generation to generation. The story itself describes a human condition.
Just like the old man, or old woman who captivates with their personal stories, Italy tells its story, in the making for Thousands of years. It's in the cities, countryside, the people. You see it everywhere. In the cities it's told through the layers of architecture. The civilizations that have thrived and died. The countryside revealing the graceful signs of man's tilling the land for his uses. In the people, their personal stories, their faces and expressions say much about who they are. For those of us with time ( the most precious of all things), stories are what makes the infinite layers of humanity so intriguing. They not only help us understand how others lived. Stories say much about who we are. And like every story happy endings happen mostly in Hollywood. Rich stories happen in life.
The response you often get when asking an Italian how he is, is "Cosí, Cosí", or So, So. As Americans this response comes as a bit of an unexpected shock. For us, there's only room for one reply, so standardized it comes out no matter what the circumstances are. Everything's fine! Is it possible everything's fine all the time? The Italian reply can, without shame, easily include the pain and suffering. The range of emotions has to include all of these.
Storytelling is what fascinates all of us. It brings us into a human reality that reveals how much we fit into the universality of our common story. This is comforting as we venture through the different cultures of the world. And as storytelling is such an equalizing part of our humanity, why not partake in this as part of your next adventure.