To sum up nine glorious days in Italy in one short blog post would be insulting to the country’s idyllic views, charming chaos, unbeatable history, and endless onslaught of thick prosciutto.
But I’m going to have to be insulting, to a degree anyway. There isn’t time to go into much detail, and regardless, such details wouldn’t come close to capturing the essence of Italy that entices dreamers from every corner of the world.
It was a family reunion of sorts in a beautiful villa in Tuscany. Queue rolling hills, whose descriptions write themselves, morning hikes to cappuccino-bliss, and double rainbows.
After traveling essentially alone for six months or so, being on a real “vacation” with eight other people — family-people — was bizarre at first. Driving around? An actual bed? For me? And fancy meals? All the time? And eight other people?
Decisions were slow, walking was slow, maps were constantly consulted, and in general, our first day-trip to Siena was exasperating.
I ended up bolting for a couple of days to Rome, escaping the frustration of a house of nine in favor of one of the busiest, most touristy cities in the world.
Yet I found peace in Rome. Yes, of course, the Colosseum had a long line. And the Trevi Fountain was overrun with tour groups posing for photos. And the Pantheon wasn’t all that impressive. But Rome’s quieter alleys of pizzerias, the simultaneously adorable and booming Travestere district, the piazzas filled with drunk teenagers kissing and screaming at night, the old Italian men wandering for hours, waiting for something but probably nothing… they all make, combined with the essential sights, for a most excellent, well-rounded holiday.
I returned to Tuscany both relaxed and re-energized, and I had found my family in a similar state. We hit Pisa, Lucca, Florence, Cinque Terre and nearby towns with far more ease, and it occurred to me that perhaps it was simply Italy that got to them.
An American friend I was visiting in Rome talked about Italian culture a fair bit and the way that it was changing him. One thing was clear: he had gotten really lazy.
Obviously not lazy in the American in-front-of-the-TV-eat-artificial-potato-chips-and-other-shit way, but in the Italian take-it-easy-drink-more-wine-eat-more-homemade-pasta-and-enjoy-company sort of way.
And that just about sums up our family reunion in Italy. We took our time exploring the region. We ate. A lot. Incredible amounts. We drank wine. We savored.
Look for a post on said savory savoring in the near future.