But while all of these may well touch on some aspect of the reality, they nevertheless fail to disclose the one fundamental truth of most Italian vegetables:
They are fried in extra virgin olive oil for half an hour. Basically, every vegetable in Italy is a pan-fried french fry.
Why? Because vegetables fried in oil for half an hour taste amazing.
This explanation sounds simple enough, but it's actually quite difficult for an American like me to wrap my head around.
We Americans (like the Germans) know that vegetables are good for us, and that, therefore, we must not enjoy eating them, since what is good for us is the opposite of what we enjoy (Italians have never learned about this principle, which may be why every rich German has a vacation home here, and may also be why Martin Luther).
By nature an American (Southerners excepted a thousand times) cannot fry vegetables in oil. cooking things in oil is how we cook our oreos when we want to wear elastic waistbands for three days and wallow in guilt. Vegetables, on the other hand, have to be ingested in a demonstration of personal discipline in all their punishing, unappetising, but healthy and vitamin-rich near-original state.
Compare the level of internal discipline it takes to consider the following photographs appetising.