I feel like I’m having a secret love affair with Italy. I pine for it. I long to find myself walking down ancient cobblestone streets at dusk smiling to myself as I notice the beauty in the details that make every single door, every single shutter, every single window and rooftop completely unique, unlike any of the other architectural masterpieces surrounding it. I crave the tantalizing aromas of fresh margarita pizzas, baking bread, fresh cheeses, of the sugary air inviting you into gelaterias, of deep red wine and pasta, of the Mediterranean Sea. I ache to speak the language – the trilling r’s, the long double l’s, vowel tumbling after vowel. Italian is a language that is delicious when spoken, a language that sounds romantic and beautiful, a language that lets you feel, really feel, each word as it rolls off of your tongue. It is a language that when spoken right, even if sprinkled with profanities, drips with beauty and grace. I miss Italian people. I miss their short tempers, their lust for life, their boundless love for one another, their over-emotive good natures, their eagerness to take me in as one of their own because my surname is Sferrazza and middle name Carmela, their illustrious badges of pride, their sense of place, of roots, and their passion for the fine but simple things in life – good wine, good food, family, home and a beautiful view. La vita bella.
I miss lazy mornings, lazy evenings and lazy after dinner conversation. I miss watching old men drink espresso and play cards at the park table while the old ladies drink lattes and gossip on the bench. I miss the richness and pervasiveness of history, of art, of culture. I miss stumbling upon a beautiful sculpture that exists simply because you are in Italy, and every block is a gallery if you pay close enough attention. I miss early morning farmers markets, juicy peaches and candy figs. I miss the canals of Venezia and the bustle of Firenze.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m (as I’m sure you can tell by the rest of my blog) ecstatic to call Sydney my home, but travel endlessly offers perspective. I didn’t realize how deep my attachment to Italy grew while there, or even while back home. It took traveling to a new place, a place that while beautiful and incredible in other ways, lacks the history, lacks the language, lacks the stark change from American life that Italy so nonchalantly provides to understand my love for this place of rolling Tuscan hills, acres of grape vines and breathtaking coastal views. Through rise and fall, through building and rebuilding, Italy just is, in all of its splendor, just as it has been for hundreds of years. And I’m lucky enough to be homesick for it.