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I Cani d’Italia, E I Gatto Troppo

The dogs of Italy, and the cats too

As my adventure in Italy comes to an end and I reflect on all I have seen and done, I wonder what my favorite part of my trip was.

The ancient walls that still surround Lucca?

The lardo di Colonnata?

Da Vinci’s Last Supper?

The leather boots in Milan?

While I have loved all of it (except the lardo!), as I start to pack I realize without reservation my favorite part of Italy is

I cani d’italia, e i gatto troppo

The dogs of Italy, and the cats too

I’ve explored Toscana (Florence, Firenze, Lucca, Carrara, Colonatta, Pisa), Emilia-Romagna (Bologna) and Lombardia (Milan). Dogs were everywhere. And I am not talking about scrawny strays scrapping for food. I am referring to healthy, leashed dogs of all shapes and sizes wearing coats and happily trotting next to their people. And in the parks, dogs jogged next to their owners, occasionally chasing a bird but then quickly returning to the jogging path.

Dogs were on the streets, in the restaurants, in La Rinascente (a department store in Milan that makes Saks Fifth Avenue look cheap), in the subway, on the train, and in the Coop (a supermarket chain).  Everywhere, but in churches. Even eating gelato.

All classes of dogs were represented: teacups, toys, sporting dogs, and terriers. I saw a Grand Pyrenees. A Greyhound. A few Pit bulls. Some on bicycles. A Yorkie on a motorcycle. And they all spoke Italian.

I even saw a Frisco lookalike in Pisa.

There were a lot of cats too. In my hotel in Bologna, a grey Tabby sprawled out and enjoyed international belly rubs. Around the Castello Sforza in Milan, where the moat used to be, cats protect the castle from attack.

So, as I pack for my trip home, I will miss the museums, exploring new cities, meeting new people and the food. I will look forward to the next Michelangelo painting or sculpture I see, I will dream of the leather boots I didn’t buy and my fondness for Italy will continue to grow. Not just because of its rich history, but also because of the dogs and cats they so very much love.