Tuesday, June 22, 2010

They see Napoli, and then die. I say don't see Roma, unless you're ready to fall in love

This is the letter I sent my family after spending the weekend in Rome. Don't miss the opportunity to go, even if you have already been.

Buon giorno tutti!

How is everyone? I am doing fantastic! Everything in Brussels is the same old same old. However, yesterday I returned from the Motherland. I finally planted my two feet on Italian soil, and it was better than I dreamed. It sounds silly, but I almost cried exiting the airplane because of how overwhelmed I was. I just couldn’t believe I was in Italy.

The events that passed that weekend reconfirmed that initial reaction over and over again. The hostel we stayed at was wonderful. The staff was extremely friendly and very helpful. I especially loved how they brought us fresh cappuccino and a croissant in the morning! :-D Regardless, you could see that they really put an effort into making sure that everyone has a good time while staying there. The best part is they wanted to talk to you. What brings you to Italy? Where did you learn to speak Italian? Why did you learn to speak Italian? I answered them all the same, and the response was the same: Oh, you’re Italian-American, I can see it in your face!

We went to numerous sites, but unfortunately we did not make it to all. You cannot do Roma in two days. Naturally, I appreciated the beauty of the scenery and the majesty of these ancient landmarks, but that is not what touched me the most. My friends and I ended going to a museum on immigration of Italians to other parts of the world. It is touching to see the artifacts that people sent back! It was emotional, especially when they started playing Santa Lucia in the background, Mom Spitale’s song. I couldn’t help crying. My friends asked if I was okay and I was, but some things are hard to explain, like the emotions I felt. Seeing that museum made me proud to be an Italian-American, not that I wasn’t before. But there I felt like I saw what Mom and Pop Spitale and Mom and Pop Crivellaro saw when the embarked on a journey for a new life in America. We know that for them in many ways the life was hard, but in some ways their dreams came true. The museum made that much clear.

The other moment that sticks out was our trip to the Vatican. When Connie went to Italy she told me about how she saw the Pope preach from the balcony. Having such a short amount of time in Italy I didn’t have the opportunity. But I knew I wanted a similar experience. Who knows when or if I will return there. So, I asked a priest if he would bless and he was gracious enough to accept. So, my site seeing in Rome ended with being blessed in Saint Peter’s square. It is something I will never forget.

In short, Rome is a beautiful city, with wonderful people. I call it my personal candy store. Mom always said before she died that she would love to see Italy one more time. Well, Concetta you walked the streets of Rome again June 18-June 20th, 2010.

Un bacione a tutti! Vi manco!


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