Padua is a little microcosm of Italy: adorned with marble-arched porticos, gaping, fourteenth century piazzas and song-inducing marketplaces.  There is really nothing not to like and nothing like it. 

What surprised me most living here are the weather extremes, the winter climate is notorious for its cold and harsh rain that streams down in grey masses, bouncing off porticos and palazzo facades in abandoned piazzas.

Then with a thud, it gets warmer. Springtime or primavera arrives overnight. Not summer’s tiring, boiling days of brilliant sunshine, but a subtle, dewy warmth that reminds you why Italy is such a luxurious place to be.

The people of Padua awake to Bellini days, the sky awash in baby-blue and honey sun so inviting you forget the harsh realities of actual life for a minute, (such as the need to call the dreaded Est Energy about a scary gas bill.)

A subtle, dewy warmth that reminds you why Italy is such a luxurious place to be

Spring is the season of nature, blooming, rebirth. Primavera reflects sparkle: vera coming from Latin ‘ver’ meaning splendere (to shine.) It’s all about the colours and the aria nuova. All feels light and carefree, as if the decorators of the city had mixed their paints with Prosecco and raspberries.

The city is walkable again, swallows have arrived and there is a delicate frenzy to the place that is exhilarating. Heavy giubbotti are replaced by slinky, leather jackets. Tights replaced with long, floral skirts that perch under outdoor tables with Spritz, (bearing in mind you’ll still see scarves and coats as Italians dress for the season, not the weather.) Padua is a real-live film set where everyone is gorgeous, impossibly tanned (already?) and the stuccoed walls brighter than ever in their baby-pink and burnt orange. 

All feels light…as if the decorators of the city had mixed their paints with Prosecco and raspberries.

Spring has arrived Italy...and apparently so have the antsAnimals perk up to the arrival of spring too: swallows sing through the morning, happy bees buzz amongst candy-floss blossom, emerald-lizards slink out of their hibernation. And –

Ants.

I came home the other day to a flurry of the busiest ants you’d ever seen, scurrying as they do along my bathroom floor. One, two, that’s thee – good Lord, four…hundred. Spring means they come marching in search of shelter from the sun and bits of food and water. But, my question is, don’t they get enough of that from the outside STREET? Porticos provide heat protection foro ants too, don’t they? DON’T THEY?

Why oh why must I be locked inside spraying fatal bleach when there is a world of spring and song and love and colour outside? Life giving me a reality check, perhaps.

I don’t believe this is a problem for just Italy, so I can’t complain. But, I do think a reminder should appear on my phone or something, a notification or anonymous call? To kindly alert me of the fact that as well as open-toe sandals from Sisley, I also need to stock up on ant-infestation powder.

Its not the ants really, I can’t question their creepy-crawly ways. It’s more the shock that gets me. In this day and age of relentless preparation, surely this shock could’ve been avoided, so as not to shorten my life by five years.

Please, what are your spring shocks?

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