Subject: Northern Italians
Andy, I am sorry that you have read the thread this way. It began when I voiced a liking for the Veronese in general, and Paolo replied with a thoughtful reminder that all generalizations are suspect, even positive ones. I don't think he or I ever meant to slam any particular group (we are both Italians) and I think we both tried to open our minds to the responsibilities of prosperity. Sadly, the issue of dealing with poor immigrants is being met in less than perfect ways throughout Europe. This is an issue that those of us in the US (especially those of us whose own ancestors were once poor immigrants, or worse, slaves) can identify with. Immigration is a problem in Europe. It is a problem I, as a frequent traveller to Europe, would like to have a greater understanding of. If you reread my original post, you will see that I feel that the Veronese know how to welcome tourists, treating them with great affability. Paolo simply pointed out that sometimes, the way tourists are treated isn't indicative of the complete character of a region.

I will offer another example of how limited my point of view can be as a tourist. When travelling through Umbria last fall, I was very impressed with the amount of evident recovery from the devasting earthquake of a few years ago. Monuments, hotels and restaurants were all either repaired or nearly so. When I expressed my delight, it was pointed out to me that much of this touristic recovery had taken place at the expense of many of the poorer residents of Umbria. Too many of them were still living in boxlike aluminum containers, years after the quake.

And so, while I could stroll, and see, and eat and sleep in comfort, I thought that the Italian government was a miracle worker. Unfortunately, as I learned, these miracles were yet to happen for thousands of families left devastated by the earthquake.

I speak most of Italy, because it is the country that I, as a traveller, am most familiar with. But I am fully aware that there are other nations around the globe, including my own, whose residents and governments sometimes have different standards of treatment for the poor and the prosperous, especially the prosperous traveller with money to spend.

I am sure you will agree that those of us fortunate enough to be able to afford world travel have a moral duty to try to understand what is happening around us. Again, I never meant to offend, only to broaden my understanding through an exchange of ideas and information. Sincerely Debbie PS. I don't have a bias against rich people; as a matter of fact, I would very much like to be one.