Postcards from Italy

Italy’s Cool Cats

They bask in the sun, alone or in pairs, draped languidly at the base of tinkling fountains in public piazzas, across picturesquely-crumbling ancient ruins, on doorsteps and windowsills of sleepy villages.

They watch you with half-closed eyes, daring you to stare back. If you show any interest, they either startle with their avid attention or offend with their contemptuous indifference. They are casually sleek, mysteriously attractive, offhandedly photogenic, and quietly ubiquitous.


(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

No, we’re not talking about Italian men. We’re talking about Italian cats.

Italians are not particularly keen on spaying and neutering their pets, which means that Italy is, if not overrun, at least densely populated with the products of passionate rendezvous and nocturnal trysts.


(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Rome’s nomadic felines are such an iconic part of the city that they have a line of calendars and posters dedicated to them, but they are not limited to the Eternal City. Just about every town in Italy has its own colony, from the truly feral to the simply independent to the more-or-less domesticated.


(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Strays are so common in Italy that the (generally female) benefactors who set out food and water for them are known as “gattare”, or cat ladies, though there are cat sanctuaries and shelters which try to provide more methodical medical care and nutrition.


(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

We love to snap pictures of the cats we come across in Italy, though we have to admit that two in particular stole our hearts…we ended up adopting them and taking them home with us!


(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Though kittens aren’t a practical souvenir for all travelers to Italy, do take the time to notice (and photograph) these picturesquely elegant city-dwellers…and maybe leave a can of food out like a passing gattara!


(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Travel Specialists

Maria Landers

Brian Dore