So far our lives in Italy have been less about virgin olive oil and truffles than they have been about Al Gore. Italy is Gore country.
The gas is shockingly expensive. Half a tank costs me 60 euros. (I’d tell you what that is in dollars and gallons but that would require math.) So everyone drives a diesel, and everyone drives a stick, and everyone, just about, drives a small car. Sometimes a ludicrously, dangerously small car. If you get in an accident in a Fiat 500 they don’t use the jaws of life to get you out of the car, they use pliers to get the car out of you.
We’ve been warned by everyone that electricity here is terribly expensive. Our landlord explained that all the juice in Italy comes from French nuclear power plants. This is probably a bit of an exaggeration, but the ethos here is very parsimonious when it comes to power. Low-wattage bulbs, lights on timers, lights on motion-sensors, everything conspires to turn lights off and leave you groping in the dark.
This duplex we live in has 4 kilowatts available for the two families. (At least, I think it’s kilowatts.) So we cannot all run appliances at the same time. The landlady runs her dishwasher and washing machine in the morning, we run ours after noon. Neither of us has a clothes drier. We were told that no one in Italy has a drier because it’s, again, so expensive, all that French electricity. We assumed that was just the landlords explaining away their refusal to provide a drier but no, a visit to the local big box store reveals a ratio of about 20 to 1, washers to driers.
So we go around in the dark wearing damp, wrinkled clothing.
Then there’s water. The Italian genius for designing showers without provision for shower doors or curtains makes long showers problematic, but even if we had a nice glass enclosure we’d keep it short because water, too, is in short supply.
And air conditioning? No. Not here, not anywhere except major stores and tourist haunts.
Diesels, sticks, clothespins, wrinkles, sweat and darkness. Fortunately the wine is cheap.