Dogs Love to Roam in Rome…

Posted by Raja on August 5th, 2013 — Posted in interview, Italy

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In Senna, Raja and Sherpa take a stroll.

In case you were thinking that a rambunctious pair roaming the streets of Italian cities would be frowned upon, rethink. Italy is a very old country, and a city oriented country. Rather than being largely rural, Italy is largely urban. What this means is that most Italian dogs are city dwellers.

So, paws on the ground, what is expected of a four footed tourist roaming the famous sites of Italy? Raja and Sherpa will fill you in:

Sherpa at the Vatican!

1. Behavior: The Italians don’t expect their dogs to behave any better or worse than they do. So, decorous bruskness is requested when walking the streets. But (and Raja did find this rather lenient) if you need to bark at a pigeon or even another dog, go ahead because people like a little feistiness in a dog about town. Just no fighting or biting… well, as Sherpa adds, you may lunge at pigeons because nobody likes them anyway.

2. Restaurants: Dogs may enter most restaurants, even very nice ones. Nobody will bat an eye. Waiters compassionately will bring water in an enormous bowl, big enough to bathe the dog. Try not to put your foot in it under the table. Raja reminds you that there may be several dogs in a small restaurant. There is no need to be loud. Just curl up on your family’s backpack and relax.

3. Hotels: Most hotels will accept dogs. Why not? Where would your dog stay if not in the hotel? And yes, they may walk through the lobby. They may bark in the lobby. They’re dogs, right?

Raja in Rome on the Bridge of Angels

4. Peeing: The Italians are not shocked by a dog being normal. Unprotected monuments like the outer wall of the Pantheon are fair game. Why not? The dogs of Rome used the wall and the temple’s still standing.

5. Wineries: Yes, dogs may accompany you on wine tours. Italian wineries are not a drop-in businesses. You will have to book your wine tour and it will be both a little more expensive, and a great deal nicer than American wine tours and tastings. Ask politely if you may bring your dogs and the winery representative will tell you elegantly that it’s OK. Do carry small dogs in your tour of the caves. Nothing can prepare the West Coast wine affectionado dog for the ancient, mouldy-musky, possible bat-lurkingness of the cellars of Italy. (Read Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Cask of Amontillado” to prepare your expectations.)

Raja and Sherpa want to send a bark out to their two favorite wineries in Tuscany:
Vinamaggio, in Greve, Tuscany is just about the most gracious villa and winery imaginabale. (Do not neglect to book a tour of the grounds so you can hear the secret story of Leonardo da Vinci and the Mona Lisa portrait. Yes, your doggy may tour the grounds and hear the story too.)
Avionesi, an elegant wine estate near Montalcino. Both ancient and innovative, Avionesi practices innovative agriculture and welcomes dog guests without fuss.

Raja checks out the enormous casks at Vignamaggio.

So if you take your dog to Italy, in summation, your dog only needs to be a normal dog, not a supernatural dog in the behavior category. Raja and Sherpa got high marks at Vignamaggio, strangely both because Raja was quiet and attentive throughout and also because Sherpa barked at the Villa’s cat- twice.

5 Comments »

Comment by Rhea hartley

Sure wish there could be more places here in the USA like what you saw. Many of the hiking trails that my Mom and Dad like to hike, I’M not even allowed to go. That is pretty sad to me!! So Raja, let me know when you travel again, I wanna come!!!

Puppy Love,
Skamp

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Comment by Cy & CT

Raja,
We are ready to pack our bags and head to Italy. It sounds like a great place for us doggy’s to visit and explore. We sure did enjoy hearing about the adventures you and Sherpa had while you were visiting Italy and how friendly everyone was to you.
Cy & CT

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Comment by Raja

Skamp, Cy and CT,

Skamp, I know! Dogs aren’t allowed in many parks in the US, but bears are and bears do you-know-what in the woods. You should all come with me next time. Wow, would we get admired! Sherpa and I drew a crowd in Florence right in front of the most beautiful cathedral ever. I know that’s crazy, but with all five of us, we’d probably be able to charge admission.

Xoxo, Raja

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Comment by Pat & Angel Buttercup

Raja.. You and Sherpa are the world travelers.. Were
you able to bring any wine home ? The European’s get it right .. Dogs are the best and should be welcome anywhere.. We are way behind !

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Comment by Raja

Aunty Patty and Buttercup,

We did get to bring wine back, but our wine was almost jeopardized, we thought, because customs wanted to X-ray our suitcases in case we were transporting Italian meat for dog food (how weird would that be?). They didn’t mind the wine, but found it suspicious we didn’t bring back any Italian meat. What did they think we would do…. Fry up a few meatballs in the airport parking lot for the ride home?

Customs is the strangest and most alien place on earth. When I pass through, I try to stay calm and hope nobody gets any creative ideas.

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 5:12 pm

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