When I was younger, Italy was the dream. My family is very Italian so I grew up with the culture and was determined to get to Italy one day. Believe it or not, until four short years ago I had never travelled internationally, which is why I jumped at the chance to travel to Italy.
In my sophomore year of high school I visited Italy with one of my closest friends on a school sponsored adventure around the country. It was certainly not the most glamorous of vacations, but I was over the moon nonetheless. We visited Rome, where I spent my sixteenth birthday, Florence, Orvieto, Napoli, and Sorrento. I had the time of my life wandering the streets of Italy with my friends and attempting to use the small tidbits of Italian I had left. I left the country enamored with my heritage and counting down the days until I'd have the chance to go back.
That chance came two years later when my mother and I ran away to Europe for a few weeks. While we also spent a week in Paris, our the majority of our time was spent in Italy. We visited Verona, Venice, and Rome; a list that we were hard pressed to narrow down while planning the trip given that we'd both spent a fair amount of time in the country. My mother, though not Italian in heritage, speaks the language fluently, and spent time living in Italy when she was younger. She and my father were married in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
Visiting places where you have a history, even if that history is only yours by association, is always a strange experience; you can often see yourself in the locals. In Italy I see hand gestures and wine, and one liners. I notice friendliness and the general sentiment that all are welcome. I witness the famous (and quite honestly, when translated, not very good) smooth talking of Italian men- young and old alike.
I see my grandmother, who even in her advanced age, is constantly playing the hostess. I see her children doing the same.
I've come to the conclusion that I should probably live in Italy one day; finding a home in where I came from shouldn't be too difficult, should it?