"When the red sun sinks into the sea near Capri
and from the sky the pale crescent of the moon flashes..." -
so begins a famous hit of the 40s, the epitome of the longing for Italy in times of war and also later in the economic miracle.
"Longing for Italy" - a word that represents a unique phenomenon in European travel culture. Sure, holidays in Provence are a fine thing - but nobody talks about "longing for France", any more than they do about "longing for Spain" or "longing for Portugal". There is even a separate Wikipedia entry for the longing for Italy, because the phenomenon described by this term is centuries old - as old as the longing to set off for warmer climes.
However, travel as cultural migration is unthinkable in the Middle Ages - what you are left with when wanderlust grips you is: a pilgrimage to Rome. The best way to get there on foot is to pass through many exciting cities, get to know your homeland, new people and foreign food. Such a journey to Rome is an indispensable part of every medieval life that wants to look a little further than the edge of the wooden grotto bowl
If you are born a little bit later, two or three centuries, then you are probably in the middle of a spiritual movement that changes everything for people. And where is it, the cradle of this spiritual birth, the rebirth of antiquity? In Italy, of course. So that's where you also have to go if you don't live in the 12th century, but in the 15th century. There's a lot going on there, helicopters are invented and experiments are carried out on corpses, while at home you still think that the wheel is the pinnacle of intelligence and the priest is always right. Of course - without this Mainz invention you probably wouldn't notice so much of it. In any case, anyone who can read has a clear advantage even in the 15th century, and that was just ten percent of the population at most at that time. But the learning to read is starting now. Because where there are books and leaflets, sooner or later there will be readers. And then off to Italy, to look at pictures that somehow look much better since Brunelleschi developed central perspective in 1423.
And even in the 18th century, you would do well to set foot in Italy. At least, if you want to look smart. Ever since Goethe pined to see the country and disappeared from Weimar in a night-and-mist action, bored by court life and full of lust for the eternal city, it has become chic to take a closer look at this country. An educational trip does not lead to the Canary Islands. Ninety years before Thomas Cook founds a travel company that can last a good 200 years, people are already travelling to Italy. Because of the culture.
The longing for the land where the lemons blossom remains unbroken and is rekindled in the times when the first guest workers from Italy are looking for a new home here. Do you long for home, for warmth and beach, while you sweat in Essen at the steel stove? Sing a little. Sing about Italy. Remind people where the pistachio ice cream comes from and also the one with lemon. How it tastes to exchange lemon ice kisses before the setting sun in Capri, where your grandfather was a fisherman. And if you're not Italian but you know one, listen to him and dream yourself to Capri. To the warmth and sweetness of a bright day.
But if you are living in 2020, in times of corona and home office, then you can also live out your longing for Italy olfactorily: with "Soleil de Capri" by Montale. At first you will notice a tart and tangy note, grapefruit for sure, but lemon is also present, and it smells very tasty and very fresh. Not sweet, but cheerful and bright. But the sillage of this fragrance, untypical for Montale, is actually not that strong. You don't attract attention with it, as it can happen with other scents of the brand. You simply smell very fresh, citrusy, clean and sparkling. The slightly oily consistency doesn't rub off creamy on your skin if you want to try it, but rather the way you know it from the essential oil of citrus fruits: shimmering, but relatively dry. So you really did a good grip. Envious people will whisper something about "synthetic". Don't hear that. It's all bullshit. Whatever. It's all about you being comfortable with your scent. And you can do that with "Soleil de Capri", because what you see in the opening is very harmonious and balanced, not too harsh, not too sweet, actually right in the middle, the attention is really focused on the scents that these fruits release when you peel them. If that's not a Capri feeling. And it gets even better: after only a few minutes already something floral penetrates into this citric freshness, very, very soft, very, very beautiful. On the one hand it softens the citrus notes a little in their intensity, on the other hand it catches them and lies under them like a bed of white petals. This makes your fragrance a multi-layered scent, it becomes exciting and refined, and makes you think of a seafront promenade with bougainvillea and hibiscus, which you stroll along while drinking a cool lemonade. And because you showered in the morning, even your skin smells so delicious in the sun, and this idea also comes to mind when you sniff "Soleil de Capri", because there's something in the background that smells so fresh and tenderly of your clean skin.
So you see, "Soleil de Capri" is a super nice scent, if you have no plans this year, have to stay home for the summer and still always think of Italy. You may not be able to travel there - but you can get a taste of it.
And the trip to Italy, you can do that in another year. Because this much is certain: The longing for Italy will always exist