"Why do I love Italy?" asks Johnson. "Nearly everyone who comes to Italy knows why. It's the people. And the fact that they're living. They know how to live and they're living it. And everyone else [outside of Italy] is still experimenting.
"The people of Italy are very genuine," he adds. "It's always you before them. They always make you feel more special. You know, that's not something that I crave. It's something that happens when you're a celebrity. But here in Italy, all you have to be is a good person and you get treated the right way." It's been a revolving door this July at his rented villa, located about an hour's drive south of Florence. At times, Johnson admits that he isn't sure if he is running a hotel or a restaurant, considering the number of visitors he's entertained. Each day, if he's not sightseeing, he's throwing a big lunch or dinner for a large group. He loves having people around him, sharing the good life with them. He must be one of America's great bon vivants, whether appreciating three-star Michelin food, hard-to-find bottles of Italian reds or aged Cuban cigars. "Life's too short to drink bad wine or smoke poor cigars," he says, during a lunch that includes a bottle of 1997 Masseto, one of Italy's most vaunted bottles of Merlot.
Thanks to our good friend from Helsinki, Tero, for bringing this to LJ's attention.