We were given extra morsels of food, compliments of various chefs, shots of grappa from an old man on the beach who recited with gusto an Italian novella for us by Antonio de Curtis.
To Aldo, his companion, who translated it stanza by stanza.
To Enrico who escorted us through the maze of streets in Positano to Aldo's house for a dinner party.
To all their friends who kept the prosecco poured.
And Enrico again for presenting us with platters of cherries.
To Raphaelo, our sea captain, who, upon hearing us laugh loudly when our boat bounced in the waves, sped up the ride to make us laugh more.
To the waiters to invited us out to the disco.
To Salvatore, the 17-year-old boy, who rented us our beach chairs everyday. He practiced English with us and we practiced Italian with him.
Aine, Salvatore and me.
To Sandro and Marco who took us to dinner, walked us around Rome all night long and introduced us to the Colosseum.
To Claudio, for the private tour of the Vatican and for walking us around Rome on crutches.
Where else in the world can one be treated so kindly? The Italians exuded enthusiasm. Their faces lit up when ours lit up. Then they did more things so our faces would light up more, which in turn made their faces light up more, which resulted in a slew of shiny happy people gawking at each other. They made us feel like we were all old friends, that we were always there and would always will be.
I wonder now if they live their lives entertaining people that come and go. Do they think of us or miss us? Or are they onto a new set of new faces to light up? It doesn't matter. If that's how they live life, then that is indeed la dolce vita.