Get ready to pack your bags!
Have you ever asked the question: "How many trips to Italy is too many?". My answer is, there's no such thing as taking "too many" trips to Italy. I know I'll never get tired of seeing that beautiful country. Some of my previous travels to Italy included revisiting destinations I had already visited, but I found myself having new experiences and sharing different stories each time. Of all my travels, I can reflect on three years that were the most impactful on my life.
My very first trip to Italy was in 2006. It was the first time my mom, sister and I had gone to Italy, and the first time my dad returned since he moved to Canada. We rented one of the only automatic cars we could find, and drove to my Dad's hometown to visit family. Only a few of our cousins were expecting us, but the word spread around that my Dad was finally coming home, and bringing his family. Needless to say, we were like celebrities walking through the town, and we were introduced to more relatives everywhere we went. Like many small hill-towns in Italy, Muro Lucano has one castle, a main strip with a gelato shop and bar, family-owned properties, and that's about it. Though it didn't seem like much, it kept us busy for a few days until our family took us around Southern Italy. I was so taken back by the community of my Dad's hometown, the scenery of Amalfi, detail of Matera, and the history of Pompeii. Those are memories I'll never forget.
In 2016, I spent half of my summer in the Tuscan region of Italy for a summer exchange program. I studied Italian Food and Culture, and lived on residence of the University of Siena. It was the first time I had travelled alone for such a long period of time, and I was able to fully immerse myself into a different lifestyle. There was nothing like mornings at the local cafe, grocery shopping at the neighbourhood grocery store Conad, and enjoying a gelato in the main Piazza (city square). I met some amazing people who became my closest friends, and we spent our weekends exploring what else Italy had to offer. It was surreal to think that we were a bus ride away from Firenze, and a train ride away from Venice and Cinque Terre. My admiration for Italian culture grew stronger than ever, and I felt as if this country was my second home.
Earlier this year, I went to Italy with one of my best friends to take an Italian Language course, and see more of the beautiful Motherland. It was her first time in Italy, which made the trip all the more special. I was able to take on the role of the tour guide, and also share first time experiences with her. Our trip began in Milano, then Firenze, Roma, the Amalfi Coast, and finished in Ischia. Most of our travels were spent on a train, where we found ourselves in constant awe, and witnessed a great deal of Italian romance. We certainly found some amazing restaurants, shopping, and destinations that we needed to revisit. This trip has motivated me to continue studying the language I never learned as a child. With both my parents speaking different dialects, I never had the opportunity to learn proper Italian, and that was something my Nonno always bugged me about. I hope to someday make him proud, and be able to fluently communicate with the locals on my return to Italy.
With my camera roll on my phone being 75-80% photos of my travels to Italy, I'm always reminded of my favourite travel moments as if a day hasn't gone by. This portion of Vita Italiana will allow me to share my favourite destinations I have visited in the past, and the unforgettable experiences that are dear to my heart. Get ready to pack your bags!
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Fa la brava,