Agosto in Italia

September 7, 2015

It was cold in my office the final minutes of the Friday before my trip. I tapped my pen against the desk. I was so eager to get out and finish packing for my trip abroad. To be honest, I was scared to be going to Italy. I went four years ago but as part of a tour and this time around my family and me would be navigating a train and taxi ride to Italy’s deep south to Davoli and San Sostene.

The first three days we stayed in Rome, a quarter of a mile from the Coliseum. The weather was uneasy and resulted in heavy rain for a day, but we paraded around excitedly, regardless. On the first day, we walked 26,000 steps.

Rome and the Vatican

The next three days we stayed in Sorrento. “This is where the northern Italians go on vacation,” our tour guide said. We could see why. Beautiful beaches stretched for as far as the eye could see. The water, warm and turquoise, invited everyone to come in and escape the hot sun. Shops were bustling with patrons and the beaches roared with the laughter of children dipping their toes in the water.

Capri and Amalfi

 

In Anacapri, I enjoyed an espresso for a few minutes atop a mountain accessible only by chair lift and steep stairs. Looking over onto the ocean I could not tell where the sky started and the ocean ended. The horizon had been blurred with a heavy blue haze. I imagine that is what heaven is like. After three nights in Sorrento, we headed to Naples to catch a train to Lamezia. The skies were clear and the air was humid. We ate like kings in the dining room. First arrived a fish appetizer, next was three kinds of pasta, then the main course. It wasn’t too long before our extended Italian family found us at the hotel and asked about the goings-on in the states.

The next day we rode with family to the San Rocco festival in the village where my grandparents grew up. Band played while a procession wound its way around town. Church bells chimed and fireworks boomed as the participants marched while others offered wine and snacks from their front steps. We were pulled into houses of a distant relative’s second cousin for wine and crackers. Everyone is treated like close family there.

Davoli and San Sostene

The last day we spent in Davoli was spent mostly on the beach. After my now favorite breakfast of a jelly croissant and a cup of espresso, we headed to for the sand and surf. We ate figs, hand picked from a family member’s garden and listened to the bustle of the Italian tourists from up North. The day flew by and we ended it with a dinner (of course accompanied by family).

The trip back was bittersweet. It felt like we had spent months sampling the food and culture from city to city and I longed for a night’s sleep in my own bed. I managed to find a few more souvenirs of my favorite books translated into Italian and we boarded the plane from Rome to Boston.