19 APRIL 1997, Page 28

Viva Italia

Sir: I am outraged, but amused, by Miss Wyatt's vitriolic attack on my compatriots (Another voice, 29 March).

I have known Petronella since we were both in our teens, when she started coming to Italy for her summer holidays. Since then she has been coming every year, enjoying not only the beauty and unrivalled heritage of my country but the kindness and hospi- tality of many Italians.

Obviously somewhere down the line something must have gone wrong. I sup- pose she isn't the type Italian men go for, and I would recommend that she went else- where next summer since she despises the Italians so much, and since the Italians cer- tainly don't need her. Most Italian men are very gallant, and if you sit next to one at dinner, he will make you feel like 1,000 bil- lion lire. They certainly enjoy the company of women more than men of most other nationalities do.

Personally, when I am in Italy, if I go out at all without my husband, the next day I will definitely receive some man or other's telephone call, trying hard to take me out, and God knows what else. My first reaction is, 'How dare he? I am a respectable mar- ried lady,' but truly I always find it flatter- ing and reassuring, given the fact that in the 12 years I have been living in England an Englishman has never even attempted to make a pass at me. But maybe I just am not the Englishman's type, as Petronella is not the Italian's.

Of course, when it comes to govern- ments, mafia etc., no other country has had it so bad. Certainly this has stopped Italy from flourishing in this century the way it has done in the past, when we left such a huge cultural contribution in every field during each period in history.

We dress the world, we have dictated the rules for modern fashion and industrial design. Our cinema is hugely important: De Sica, Fellini and Visconti, Bertolucci, Zef- firelli and Antonioni, not to mention the sexiest man ever, Marcello Mastroianni.

I am proud of my people and I am wait- ing for another renaissance some day.

Viva Italy and viva the Italians.

Aliai Forte

Casa Palapa, La Romana, Dominican Republic