Once my kids were out of college, it was like getting a pay raise. Trust me, I was more than happy to ensure they were educated and ready to get out into the world as adults, so it was worth every penny. I had been fortunate to do some traveling in the United States, but now it was time to broaden my horizons and head to Europe. Of course, the first choice was Italy, my motherland.
We flew into Rome, grabbed a car and headed to the Amalfi Coast. Once we checked into our hotel, adrenaline kicked in and we headed down in the village of Sorrento. As we walked, the church bells started ringing, I smelled the aroma of garlic and olive oil, and heard the Italian chatter of the locals. I fell to my knees and started to weep. I felt like I was home.
We didn’t spend enough time in Sorrento that first trip, but I knew I would be back. As we left Sorrento, we went to the village my grandmothers family was from, Cervinara, which is east of Naples. I didn’t know anyone there, but after asking a few locals ( in my horrible attempt of speaking Italian), they helped me find my family. We ended up spending the day with them, and you would think we knew each other our entire lives. That evening though, we had a long drive to Florence so we left before dinner, which was hard to pass up.
Our time in Florence was brief, but we hit all the attractions. The museums, art galleries, the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio bridge. We left Florence and headed to a medieval town on the top of a hill, called Orvieto. I thought I had entered into a movie set. The cobble stone streets, the buildings that were built in the 1200’s didnt even seem real. The Duomo there, built in 1290, was breathtaking with the frescos and sculptures. As I sat there on a pew absorbing the beauty, the monk started playing the organ, and I once again found myself weeping.
The final stop was Rome, since we were flying out of there to head back. Of course we saw everything there is to see, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and the Vatican. It was a busy, exhausting few days, and while I am glad I saw it all, I mean you have to , Rome was a one and done for me.
I brought the Italian culture home with me, I vowed to live like an Italian in every aspect possible. I also gained 20 lbs living like an Italian in the United States. So while I had to dial back on the pasta and bread, I still made sure to live La Bella Figura.