I’ve had wonderful friends from Milan staying with me this week; quite a houseful with their two little kids. Needless to say, it’s been great and very unstressful.
That’s because, when you have Italian house guests, you really don’t have to do anything save for a pot of espresso each morning. Most Italians don’t even do breakfast, and if they do, it consists of a few cookies dunked in their milk or bambiniccino (my word).
But, even better, you don’t have to do any tidying up prior to arrival. In fact, you can remove every single thing from every single surface, including the pillows on the couch, sterilize the kitchen counters, shine up the fixtures until they glow, and banish the dog to the balcony – with no effect whatsoever: No matter what you do, when they first walk in, the house will still be considered by all an absolute wreck ready for demolition. In fact, your guests will appear a little nervous thinking that homeless people will be at the door at any moment to rifle through the rubble. No matter what you do, your house will never ever come close to the cleanliness bar set by a typical Italian household.
The next advantage is, you don’t ever have to do laundry. Incredibly, considering that this is the land of high-thread-count Frette sheets, Armani towels, and hand-spun linens, you can just save your money. That’s because, Italian house guests come with their own linens. At first, I thought it was a most-outlandish practice, especially since they don’t know my bed size (U.S. sizes no less). But now, I kind of revel in the lack of work involved post-visit.
And, finally, if you cook in, since no Italian worth their sale fino would ever entrust an American to cook their pasta (and rightly so), you get time off on that front, too.
I have now understood why the word Ospite in Italian means both “host” and “guest” -- they are one in the same!