Ciao, my name is Mario Scalzi. Before I ever dreamed of owning Parker Villas, I had visited Italy dozens of times. To date, I have been to Europe more than 300 times and driven over a quarter of a million miles throughout the continent. That’s more than enough to go to the moon. But why go to the moon when you can be in paradise? Over 80% of my European travels and miles have been to Italy. I have visited every region, countless cities and towns and far more winding roads than any country should possess. Occasionally, I stopped to get gas, eat, and see some interesting things. Most of all, I have met and gotten to know the Italians—as well as any foreigner can pretend to.
Typically, after two or three days in Italy, I find myself thinking and dreaming in Italian. For this, I owe my mom who sent me to school in Italy as a child (2nd grade in Rome, 4th in Rapallo on the Italian Riviera). The only reason I point this out, is that when you learn a language early on it never goes away. If you have young children, please start them now.
Today, most Italians I meet envision me as an Italian, at least initially. What eventually gives me away is not my accent—most Italians think it is from somewhere in Tuscany—but instead it is my thought process. I am a product of American culture and when discussions get deep enough I am exposed as an alien infiltrator. Not in what the end result of a discussion might be, but just by how I got there.
That’s where the fun begins—with my attempts, through this blog, to explore with you some of the differences and commonalities between cultures. While I won’t be writing every blog post (ok, so some of you have pointed out that I haven’t posted a single thing since spring of 2011), what I hereby pledge to do regularly—my staff made me swear on my nonna’s marinara recipe—is share some of the stories behind the villas we choose and reject, their history and some glimpses into the people that own them. Often there are funny and heartwarming episodes that occur between owners and guests. Of course, all names will be changed to protect the innocent, or guilty as the case may be.
In-between, our staff will keep you connected you to Italy with a kaleidoscope of blog topics, from food and wine to quality activities to enjoy with your children... from unusual museums to great local markets... from favorite Italian films, literature, and music to photos that will have you longing to be back in this enchanted corner of the world.
And finally, I am more than pleased to announced that we have joined the realm of Social Media and, in so doing, can connect directly, and often, with you, our lovely Parker Villa guests. I invite you to “Like” us on Facebook, join us on Twitter, and read and contribute comments to our blog posts. We are forever grateful that you choose to discover Italy with Parker Villas and warmly welcome you to Parker’s special community of amici.
Con tutto il cuore,