On our last day in Bellagio we slept in, had a late breakfast of croissants, juice, coffee, and toast at a little outdoor cafe in town, and then did some shopping, buying Italian candies and scarves to bring home. By then it was getting hot so we walked through town to the Bellagio Sporting Club to go swimming. This was a bit of a distance and we arrived sweaty and ready to jump in the water. The Club was a bit like visiting a country club, with a nice outdoor pool, beautifully landscaped sunbathing area, several eating facilities, tennis courts on which you could also play soccer, and bikes to rent. We loved it and stayed all afternoon.
As the day went on the Club got busier and busier as Italian families came to swim, eat, and have fun, and it was interesting to watch and listen to them as they interacted with each other. The children raced around having a great time while their parents visited, read, or ate and drank. They made themselves available to their children, but didn't actually play much with them. I don't think I saw a single parent in the water with their child, as you do in American pools, nor did I see a single parent scold or discipline their child, as practically all American settings. Everyone just seemed relaxed and laid back, with the grownups doing grownup things and the kids doing kid things.
Besides the requirement that everyone in the water must wear a swimming cap, which, of course we Americans found extremely odd, there didn't seem to be any safety rules. The one person with "Lifeguard" written on the back of his t-shirt also set up newcomers in their lounge chairs and fetched pool towels as needed. Kids ran around on the concrete pool deck, hung from the railings, leapt into shallow water, wore water wings on their arms, and played with big inflatable toys--all forbidden at my local pool.
And the usual background noises of a swimming pool -- music, people talking, parents calling their children -- were, of course, in Italian. This language, along with the songs of the many birds in the trees around the pool, was beautiful to hear.
By evening our two boys were worn out and not up for an adult dinner. So while Ben and Jean and I strolled down to the nearby La Punta restaurant to celebrate our last evening in Italy, Paul and Robbie indulged in a feast of good free wifi in the room followed by a little adventure of going out down street into town on their own to pick up a snack of croissants.