People often ask us why they should travel to Italy. Why not France, Thailand, or Florida? This is the answer I give them...
Italy is not a vacation. Well, not in the traditional sense anyway.
Yes, you come to Italy for a vacation, and then something occurs. As long as you don't make the mistake some tourists make, a mistake I spoke about a little while ago, then it will happen to you too.
It doesn't happen overnight; the first few days, you are your usual frenetic self.
However, if you don't move around too much and base yourself in a quieter, smaller town or village (we can help find the perfect one for you), you will begin to feel a change come over you.
Slowly at first, hardly noticeable. The longer you spend in Italy, the more you change. It's almost like watching a flower slowly open. a deep feeling of peace and contentment. It is hard to put into words.
Perhaps a story will help explain it better...
I remember, as a child, being sent to a summer camp. It was okay. The food was nothing like my mamma's cooking. My fondest memory, though, is when I came home.
I still remember walking through the door to the delicious aromas of mamma's lasagne, the usual chaos and happy laughter, a huge hug from my mamma and the rest of the family—aunts, uncles, cousins—they'd all come to our house to welcome me home.
They made me feel like my being away was a huge emptiness in their lives. An indescribable feeling of happiness overwhelmed me. I knew I was home. I knew that this was where I belonged.
It is this feeling you get in Italy.
Take your time and savor every moment. In the south of Italy you will feel it most. It is as if you have returned to family. As if their lives were not complete without you.
The happiness and the sincerity of people. The sense of belonging. It is overwhelming. Your heart breaks every time you have to leave. Even my Anglo-Saxon husband has been known to shed a few tears.
So, don't come to Italy on vacation. Come because you are wanted. Come home. Know that you will never be the same again.
Don't blame me if you never want to leave ;-)
Join me as I travel with you to a summer's evening a few years back. It was a warm evening, a gentle breeze carried honeysuckle and amore through cobbled lanes and into the square.
Today was the wedding day of a young man from England and a local farmer's daughter, to be held in a tiny seaside town climbing the hills of southern Italy. Far below stretched a sea of brilliant azure, alive with specks of silver, where boats brushed across its canvas of blue. Children played games of tag as they ran through the lanes and down to the sea.
The church ceremony proceeded slowly, the priest trying to emphasize everything in slow Italian so the husband-to-be could follow, and yet he understood not a word. The guests grew impatient, and the slower and louder the priest spoke, the less the groom understood.
And then it was all over; we left the tiny, thousand-year-old church and headed to the family farmhouse. Wine barrels lined the scene, and red-cheeked local farmers waited to greet the arrival of the rather posh English gentlemen—the other half of the newly united families.
Posh British accents met the local dialect, and wine was the translator. Meanwhile, Italian wives and young ladies, overflowing with the joys of life and every one a Sofia Loren of sorts, waited for the reserved English ladies. Polite introductions and nervous giggles (from the English side) were met with huge laughs, smiles, and great big hugs from the Italian side.
The ice disappeared faster than even the wine.
I'll end my story there, except to say that huge tables of food followed, as did local dances, where even an English lord danced madly as if bitten by a tarantula and laughed and laughed until he cried.
The stiffness was gone, the worlds were one, and happiness was the order of the day.
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