Bookmark and Share

Charming, Nonetheless

By Rick Gush, Urban Farm contributor

Friday, February 11, 2011

Italian creek

Photo by Rick Gush

Despite Italian corruption, there's still a lot of beauty to find in this country, especially in the agriculture.

I’ll admit that I feel lousy at the moment. It’s been years since I was ill, and now I remember how much I dislike it. I’ve been in bed since last Sunday, and today is my first day upright. My head’s spinning, but it’s fun to be doing something other than staring at the ceiling.

Life here in Italy isn’t all a bed of roses. When I first came over, I was given a special executive visa to work because my computer game designing experience, and a bunch of Italian newspapers wrote articles about how the king of video games had arrived to save the local development industry. It was sort of fun to see my name in print so much, but all the lies they made up about me were weird. Many of the articles claimed that I had designed all the famous Tomb Raider games, but when I tried to correct them, they didn’t care to hear the truth.

After a year and a half, the company that had hired me went bankrupt under mysterious conditions, my visa was revoked, but nobody thought to tell me. A few months later, when I went to the state police station to renew the visa, I was told I couldn’t renew and would have to leave the country in 10 days. I resolved that problem by marrying my Italian girlfriend.

Italy is incredibly corrupt, so much so that all the Cosa Nostra groups like The Mafia, 'Ndrangheta et al come in a weak fourth place among the organized crime groups in the country. Aspirin costs about 20 cents a pill in Italy because somebody has a lucrative monopoly. The freeways are scary because there are never any highway patrol cars, which is mostly because the freeways are privately owned and as poorly maintained and engineered as they could possibly be. Of all the corrupt groups, the politicians are the worst. Not only does the state pay the huge salaries, staff costs and permanent auto service for all politicians for life, most of the top bureaucratic posts also enjoy these luxuries. 

Just about the only part of Italy that isn’t completely rotten is the agriculture. Strange, but while cheating is rampant everywhere else in this society, cheating with someone’s food just isn’t considered good etiquette here. 

Read more of Rick's Favorite Crops »

Give us your opinion on Charming, Nonetheless.
Submit Comment »
And people wonder why ALL political systems fail.
Carl, Livermore, CA
Posted: 3/25/2012 12:36:14 PM
Hello Las Vegas,

It's been ten years since I was there last, but I have many fond memories. I was a wholesale nursery salesman when I lived there. I suppose you know some of my big customers like Plant World and Star Nursery.
Yeah, every place has it's good and bad points, but I am of the opinion that just about anyplace on the planet could be a nice place to live.
Rick, Rapallo, YT
Posted: 3/4/2011 12:43:24 AM
Love the viewpoint, love the writing. It's an amazing place if you can look past the bad spots.
Bruce, Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2/25/2011 7:23:09 AM
I don't know that there is a big government in the global scheme of things that isn't corrupt. The pictures you post from the town you live in are the best. Italy, so says my sister who just had a vacation there, is very much for the preservation of historical buildings and monuments. Her pictures of Italy were fantastic. The hillside cultivation prevalent there with the rock and stone walls that could possibly have been build a century ago mesmerized me as I watched her picture show with commentary.

I can definitely see why you would want to live there. Just stay out of politics will ya. :)

Have a great non political day.
dbentz24@msn.com, Omaha, NE
Posted: 2/12/2011 6:32:07 AM

About the Blogger

Rick Gush

Rick Gush
Rick Gush has long been a staunch organic gardener. While a student at the University of California at Davis he worked at local tomato and sugar beet farms and continued in the agricultural and horticultural industries for many years. A career move in the 1990s led him to design computer games, but no matter how much of a techie he’s become, gardening and farming remain his principal passions.

In 2000, Rick moved to Italy, where he writes to you about his cliff garden and other experiences in Italian urban agriculture.

Related Articles


Top Products
Gold Standard

*Content generated by our loyal visitors, which includes comments and club postings, is free of constraints from our editors’ red pens, and therefore not governed by I-5 Publishing, LLC’s Gold Standard Quality Content, but instead allowed to follow the free form expression necessary for quick, inspired and spontaneous communication.

Would you like to receive Farmer in the City Newsletters?X Close Window
Please provide us with your email address in order to access this valuable sustainable-living content.
Fields marked with an asterisk * are required.
* Are you at least 13 years old?
* First Name:
* Last Name:
* Email:
* City:
* State/Province:
* Enter the code shown:

  Yes, I would like to get valuable information from UrbanFarmOnline.com.
In order to opt-out of our newsletters, you can click on the "unsubscribe" link in the bottom of the newsletter.
  Yes, I would like to get valuable information from UrbanFarmOnline.com partners.