I’ve never been so loathe to leave a country as I am to move on from Italy. And a country’s never felt so real to me as this, the birthplace of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance. I’ve always had a somewhat nebulous desire to see Italy because it’s Italy. It contains the Colosseum and Sistine Chapel.
That desire has hardened into something more specific: I wish to walk the streets that the ancient Romans once hewed out of rock and stone. I wish to see the same buildings that inspired a generation of artists and, eventually, the world. I wish to float through the city that enjoyed a millennium of democratic rule. I even wish to trod the treacherous, bloody path that the Allies took to liberate Italy.
And yes, I wish to eat mounds of authentic Italian food.
Maybe some day when I’m independently wealthy, I can spend a month observing the Italian culture in person and getting lost in the past and present. But until then, I have this, a handful of books to lead me through the crooked streets. For now, it’ll have to be enough. And I’ve learned a lot.
What Italy Has Taught Me:
- Italy: A History: The past is a multifaceted entity that’s nearly incomprehensible and impossible to grasp.
- Happiness is found within. Also, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying food with your full soul, thanks to Eat, Pray, Love.
- According to Romeo and Juliet, being overly emotional is never a good thing.
- Love can make us more powerful than we ever thought possible, from The Girl from Venice.
- Hero on a Bicycle suggests that heroism lies within the humblest of people.
- The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944: Many good people suffered and died for a cause that was, in the end, worth it.
Italy has left me with a yearning to know more and a long list of books that I never would have had time to read in just a month. I think that’s a pretty good sign of a place worth visiting in person one day.