This One’s For the Girls…Who Have Fallen In Love with Italy
American Girl in Italy by Ruth Orkin
To all the girls who have fallen in love with Italy and the Italians, at one point or another during their lives:
I got ya.
You see, I always slyly smiled when I saw this black & white photograph of the American Girl in Italy. It made me snicker. It made me annoyed. It made me shake my head.
Because I was her. I still (I think) am her. Especially depending on how deep into Italy I dare to go.
In this Behind the Iconic Photo article, the woman in the photo, Ninalee Allen Craig, comments about the picture, “It’s not a symbol of harassment. It’s a symbol of a woman having an absolutely wonderful time! I clutched my shawl to me because that sheaths the body. It was my protection, my shield. I was walking through a sea of men. I was enjoying every minute of it.”
“They were Italian and I love Italians.”
-American Girl in Rome
In fact, she remembers that moment fondly, “They were Italian and I love Italians.”
Italy of Then Versus Now
Fast forward over 70 years from 1951, and not a whole lot has changed, especially in the towns-less-traveled. While you’ll see some women around now, you’ll still see more men. While not as many will gawk at you, you’ll always have a handful that will make you feel exotic and beautiful. It’s exciting and it’s intimidating for an American girl to pass through a piazza or down a street of bystanders in Italy. And if you’re blonde, you have a natural bonus.
I’m not sure if it’s their sun-kissed bronze skin, their sprezzatura of an effortlessly chic outfit, their ancient cobblestoned gorgeous backdrop, or the way they perch atop their scooters with their dark, mysterious aviator sunglasses and their deep, delicious accent, but a beautiful Italian man can win your heart in just seconds.
Though, I might just be speaking from personal experience.