In winter the distance is at the maximum. The Italian in Winter bears little to no resemblance to an American at any time of year.
What the Italian in Winter does resemble is a nineteenth-century British convalescent from a Henry James novel. You thought you would only read such things in books, and instead you hear them coming out of the mouth of an otherwise cooler-than-you twenty-six-year-old.
"I'm going to the seaside," he says, "to take the air. I caught a chill from going around last week with inadequate socks."
Yes, in winter, the Italian must wear adequate socks. And a shirt, undershirt, sweater, and scarf. If not, he might catch a chill, obliging him to go and take the air by the seaside or the lakes, palm-tree-lined microclimates smiled upon by the gods and protected from the north winds by the friendly Alps (we won't mention what the gods did to Western New York).
Once there, the IiW strolls the beach in his socks and shoes, orders coffee and focaccia at the bar, and sleeps in a cheap and immaculate residence, democratically priced so that no one is excluded from the medicinal benefits of sea air.
Nota bene: when it comes to skiing, absolutely none of this applies. You can take all the hits of air in the world with no risk of sinusitis pneumonia as long as you are wearing skis. More magic from...