How I know I have arrived in Italy?

Italy Travel Notes presents: by Christina Vlahova

DSCN1035When you arrive at Rome, especially if you are flying in from outside the EU, you would usually land at the C area of the Fiumicino airport. Just to give you an idea the Rome airport is divided into three areas: area A is for the national flights inside Italy, area B is for the EU flights and then C for all international flights outside the EU. So in case you arrive at C and if you are exiting at Rome or if you have a connecting flight for some other Italian city, either way you have to go through passport control. I am saying this because if you are coming from another EU country you do not need to do that you are treated as if you are travelling through the same territory that of the EU, and that is why arriving at area B you just walk straight out, that is, once you collect your luggage.

Anyway, if you have a connecting flight and you land at the C area – you follow the signs which lead you to the transit area on your way to passport control, which then lets you into first the B and then the A area. And that is not your usual airport experience, because while on your way to passport control on which other airport do you have a chance to walk by or enter if you have the time into a Ferrari store, or be surrounded by the best of the Italian designers` creations either in the boutiques selling them in the transit area or to see them on the huge advertising posters, Italian airports are famous for. By the way did I mention that while still in the aircraft cruising towards your final stop you can get a glimpse of an impressive Emporio Armani sign both at the Rome Fiumicino and at the Milano Malpensa airports?

Immersed in style and design, you find your way to the B area form which, if you are going on a national flight, you proceed to area A. Once you reach A you would see a Bulgari store at the corner on your left. I love stopping at the beige velvet enveloped square windows and getting a glimpse of the Bulgaria`s latest definition of luxury jewellery and there is always something to strike your imagination there. And once you reach the Bulgari store and do turn right and up the moving staircase to reach another shopping area of the airport. And there if you turn right again after two shop windows you see a newspaper and a coffee shop combined together or what the Italians call “bar“.

I know I have arrived in Italy when I stop there at that bar, get my latest copy of the Italian Glamour magazine and buy a cappuccino. Now, if you arrive later than 11 a.m. local time and you ask the “barista“ for a cappuccino you might just for a sec get that look of – “foreigner“ – in his eyes, since as the Italian ritual goes and cappuccino is to be consumed for breakfast and never after 11. But then, they do give you the best cappuccino you have ever tasted. And this is not only at this bar, but anywhere you go in Italy be it at the very touristy places or in a real bar where only Italians go – you always get that wonderful combination of milk froth and aromatic coffee which Italy has generously offered to the world.

And this is when I know I have arrived in Italy

when I land and get a glimpse of the latest collections, just to admire the great Italian sense of style, when I get my passport checked and reach that bar up in the A area, order my cappuccino from the barista, who might have just as well walked a second ago off the fashion podium and get my first sip.

I am actually describing this right now sitting at one of the tables at this very bar. The latest Italian Glamour is safe in my bag, I have almost finished the cappuccino and every time I look up I see the best dressed businessmen walk pass by, behind them the windows of “Boggi Milano“, “Hermes“ and “Trussardi“ . And when I look at the clock on the information board to make sure that I still have time to finish this article before my next flight and I can`t help noticing that that clock is Bulgari as well.

welcome to Italy!

P.S: If you exit at Rome straight from the C area and if you are not in a hurry and do go straight after the area where people meeting those who are arriving and right behind them you would see another bar and the cappuccino there is equally good. You have arrived!

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