Iflew back to Florence just a few days ago after the Holidays and saw gaggles of study abroad students meeting in the airport, catching flights and talking about their upcoming semester abroad. It made me feel super nostalgic. If I could go back and relive the first time I walked through the streets of Florence I would do it in a heartbeat. You just have SO MUCH to look forward to. It took me back and I spent my flight remembering my first few days, and weeks, and months in this amazing country. There were of course some difficult things to adjust to, but all I could remember were the amazing, life changing, beautiful things. That feeling of being in the most enchanted place on earth and doing my best to live every moment to the fullest while simultaneously pinching myself to ensure it was all real. Nothing quite captures that magical feeling.
While each of your experiences will be different, I hope each one is life changing, heart wrenching and beautiful too. So here are just 10 (it was quite hard to limit myself) of the amazing things that made me fall in love with my life in Italy. Hopefully they are some of yours too.
1. Waking up to the sound of bells
There is so much to see in Italy that we often forget about all the wonderful sounds! The bells are something I look forward to every time I have been away and they are a reminder every morning of where I am. I love that depending on where you live you hear different combinations from the various bells all over the city. In my last apartment I had 4 different bells that rang right outside my window, each on it’s own schedule, and each with a slightly different tone.
2. Train rides
Trains are something foreign and rare in the States, but in Italy they’re your everyday way of getting around. Use them as much as you can and look forward to the hours of staring out the window onto some of the most beautiful scenery you’ve ever seen as you prepare to visit another amazing city.
3. Tasting coffee, real coffee, for the first time and actually closing your eyes so as not to be distracted from the utter bliss.
Replace coffee with cheese, tomatoes, olive oil, salami, gelato, pasta etc. and then imagine how many blissful moments await.
4. Spending a Friday night on a bridge or on the steps of a church and having the most fun night of your life.
When you live in a place this gorgeous who wants to go inside!? Besides, the piazza is the Italian communal living room, so pull up a chair and enjoy. There is no better view in the world.
5. Stumbling upon the Duomo of Florence and being surprised and awed every time.
Replace Duomo with Colosseum, Piazza San Marco, Rialto Bridge, Botticelli’s Primavera, Michelangelo’s David, Duomo of Milan, and pretty much every beautiful thing that just sits awaiting discovery, and rediscovery, and rediscovery…
6. Being expected to eat a pastry everyday for breakfast.
7. Seeing the Tuscan landscape and realizing it really looks exactly like the movies, only better.
Replace Tuscan Landscape with Roman street, Venetian canals, Interior of Saint Peter’s, Sistine Chapel etc.
8. Discovering a random, hidden restaurant, taking a chance, and having the best meal of your life.
(And then taking your friends and family back and reliving it all over again.)
9. Being surrounded by centuries of history everyday and being overwhelmed that you even get to be there and wondering if you’ll ever be able to leave.
Probably best to prepare for this now.
10. Meeting people from all over the world that totally get 1-9 above.
Italy is an addiction. When you meet others who have the bug, keep them close. You’ll want to come back with them again to get your Italy fix. Be warned, once you have the bug, you have it for life.