There are three things that I have noticed thus far about Italy:
1) There are no fat people. I reckon the combination of a healthy diet (lots of fresh veg and olive oil) and good weather is a good one, as the only excess fat you see around is a bit of late/middle-aged spread. Much better than all the fatties in the States.
2) It is obviously against the local Trade Description Act to sell sunglasses that have lenses smaller than small dinnerplates. A further law stipulates that for any gathering of three or more people, at least one of them must be wearing such a pair of glasses, and smoking.
3) All the stories about Italian drivers are true. They are all crazy, as our hellish two hours getting lost in Genoa will testify.
The best thing about Italy, of course, is the sunshine. We are in a small town called Chiavari, on the mediterranian coast, to the east of Genoa. Our small campsite is right next to the sea (breakfast was taken on the beach this morning) and a 15 minute walk away from the town centre, which is a nice size and would probably be quite lively in tourist season. Currently though it is a little bit dead, but hey, such is the price of travelling in May.
The difference in the weather on the southern side of the alps is striking. We drove up from Geneva to a cloudy and damp Chamonix, where I completely failed to find the famous Bar Nacional (does it still exist even?!), and practically as soon as we came out of the southern side of the Mont Blanc tunnel, we were in the sun. After a three hour drive we were by the sea and changing into shorts. What a treat.
Our plan now is to go a little bit further east to the Cinco Terre, five very famous towns perching on clifftops, each about a mile away from each other. After a couple of days there we'll see, maybe drive back along the Med, or maybe head to Tuscany for a while, before catching a ferry to Barcelona?? Nice idea but we need to look into it. Ciao for now!