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Tuesday, 01 March 2022

Atmospheric Italy After 25 Years - Page 2

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On the fourth day, we trained it up to Florence. It was a mist-filled autumn morning, dew on the trees and all. Mix that dew with the sun shining down on the beautiful Apennine Mountains (which cut through Italy’s peninsula’s boot), and my world was glistening and sweet. We whizzed due north from the bustling hubbub of the capital city Rome, and as the mist began to dissipate, we drank in (like sumptuous Italian red wine) our new panoramic surroundings. The land was partly green, but also rocky and arid-looking. It was wonderfully “warm and craggy” – its atmosphere giving off major Mediterranean vibes.


And Florence? Behold the Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore). Massive and grand, it looms large in my travelista mental scrapbook. My memories of Florence are outright dominated by this structure, maybe because I wasn’t expecting to see something so gargantuan? The Duomo boasts the largest brick dome anywhere in the world. Try to fit that into a selfie?!


We then visited Michelangelo’s famous “David” marble statue, marveling at how that medieval artist Michelangelo certainly did get around. He left his mark in Rome, and now Florence, too? We then gazed at the serene Arno River, as we sipped our lemon sodas. Finally, it was off to some open market vendors to peruse, and eventually buy, some awesome Italian pants, jackets, and more. By the end of our day in Florence, Italian screen goddess Sophia Loren had nothing on our new, stylish starlet duds. Bellissima! Three cheers (or three Italian techno-music thumps) for Italy’s world-renowned fashion industry.


By the fifth day, it was off to the airport, and for me, the melancholy wondering if I would ever return to Italy. After all, I wouldn’t stay a nomadic college student forever. Would my future hold the opportunity to return? Twenty-five years later, I have yet to return to Italy. It remains the furthest east I’ve traveled to on planet Earth, and it remains a golden example for me in terms of a country successfully balancing ancient with modern, classical with cutting-edge. It’s a complicated balancing act, which I feel privileged to have witnessed.


Italy is indelibly etched in my mind as magnificent ancient ruins, delectable pasta, hypnotizing techno music (it was the 1990s!), fashionable clothes, and colorful zooming mopeds. So, in a way, my one-time Italy experience is just perfect – because I still wholeheartedly love all of the above cultural curios today. My Italian vacation was precious, just like Italy’s exquisite national flower, the white lily.


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©Joslyn Jay


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Last modified on Monday, 28 February 2022

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