My study abroad trip to Italy has become a highlight of my life, my college career and cultural influence. From ancient Rome to the island of Capri, the twists & turns of Florence and beautiful, rolling hills of Tuscana. I will never forget the smells of fresh bread, pasta and pizza coming from the street restaurants. The European culture is so enticing. I feel in love with how the Italians move their hands while talking and their style of fashion; as if each person were walking out of a clothing magazine. The artist nature was breath-taking… while traveling inside The Vatican, Uffiza, and many more historical creations. Each paint stroke held a purpose, the artist poured their hearts onto the walls and canvases.
Traveling to Europe was an adventure of its own. From planning the flight to packing all necessities. As I switched planes to the Alitalia, I was immediately surrounded by language barriers. I opened my study packet for common Italian phrases and began to practice with the flight attendants. Italians speak so quickly, and announce words so perfectly like each word had a story if its own. The Italian language is sexy, I wish I could catch on as quickly while I stayed during the trip.
Our endeavors across the country were endless, each day hosted a memory that I will never forget. From waking up in the morning to a cappuccino & croissant to falling asleep to the street musicians playing songs of love to the couples having late dinner. The buildings had a ancient style, the street names were perched very high on the corners of each building. The signs were so old that it was hard to make out what each street sign appeared to say. I can recall walking across the cobblestone street in Florence, in what I would consider ‘New York Fifth Avenue‘ in Italian-style. As I ‘window-shopped,’
which means walking from shop to shop peering into the shops but not actually walking inside, each shop had extremely high-end taste in clothing. Shoes were well over 1800 Euro, some coats were 30,000 Euro and purses… I bite my tongue when I remember the 18,000Euro purses. Oh, but the luxury of aspiring this lifestyle of high-end fashion. Even the Italian public law dressed in Armani suits! Imagine being arrested by an officer who has one outfit that is worth more than my entire closet, haha. That would be dreadful, actually.
Getting Around Italy
Transportation was accommodating but not always available. In Italy, you could travel by subways, boats, ferries, trains, buses and tiny cars considered to be there taxis. Since the roads were so narrow, the cars were small and convenient to zip past all the tall buildings in the city. Our transportation in Capri was my favorite experience. Our study abroad group traveled by bus, 6 hours or so -I think, from Rome to Naples. Our bus driver stopped at rest areas that were fully-packed with convenient store, restaurant, restrooms and place to gather gas. The one-way pathway was interesting, once you entered this ‘rest stop’ you could only follow one-path of circulation. Each person had to zig-zag through the entire grocery store, restaurant in order to get to the exit.
From Naples, our group traveled by ferry to the island of Capri. I was a bit seasick because we were enclosed into the corridors instead of sitting on the back deck. I wasn’t use to traveling by sea, so I stretched myself on a lounge to take a nap. Upon arriving, we were immediately greeted by our hotel hosts in their vehicles. My driver zipped up and around the curves of the island.T here were giant concave mirrors on the bottom of each curve, the driver would beep her horn allowing any other drivers to know our vehicle would be coming around the corner. At some points, our entire group packed into a bus.
Here is a perfect video as our hotel driver professionally zipped up the island with flawless experience.
Finding cheap places to eat was a struggle on the most expensive island in the world, Capri. Our hotel, or I would like to say resort because of its hidden beauty, had a bar / restaurant along the side of the hotel. Certain restaurants would have odd hours, only open for lunch; closed for a few hours and open again for dinner. High-end restaurants would charge a cover fee to sit inside their restaurant!? Few notes: there is no refills on drinks, portions are expensive & small and wifi is impossible to find. Pasta would cost twice as much as pizza. The famous margerita pizza would be mozzarella cheese with basil topping. It was a struggle to find white alfredo sauce for pasta. I remembered to end-the-day with a quick Gelato to enjoy the flavors of Italian ice cream. Gelato is everywhere!