Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Italy I know

My first language was Italian. My Mamma moved here to the United States with my father when they got married, and so the only language that was spoken at home was Italian.

Every few years or so, my family would pack up their bags and fly to a little town hidden on top of mountains in southern Italy.
The twists and turns, up and down the narrow roads meant we were getting closer.  

The road becomes more bumpy and then finally you could see the old church on the right... a slight turn and the main piazza was in view. 

The view. 

If only I could bottle up just how insanely beautiful it is. 

Right before everyone begins to wake up, the sun is already risen and shining, and all is quiet.

As soon as we arrive, I do the one thing I've done ever since I was a little girl. I run back to my Nonno and Nonna's living room, open the balcony doors and step out.

And I just stand there for a few moments. The smell of burnt wood and trees... I can almost hear the whispers of past times replaying in my mind. 

It never changes. It's almost as if time stands still in this little town.

That's why I love it so much. No matter how different or old I am, it sweeps you right back to how you last left it. 

Memorizing the roads from my mamma's parents home to my father's parents home became second nature over the years.

"Just walk past the little white house, past the giant bend in the road, past the vineyard until you reach a slight turn. Then just when you can the sun behind the mountain, go all the way down and you'll see Zio's pink house on the left. Keep going past so and so's house... and then you'll be right in front of Nonna and Nonno's house."

I can actually see that road in my mind right now.  

Along with my sister and cousin, I would go for long walks through the town, and we became accustomed to a distant Zio and Zia waving to us proclaiming we were the daughter of so and so from America

Sometimes we stop and our cheeks are pinched to say how much we've grown or how much we look like our mother and father. 

It's this Italy that is home to me.

Sometimes we would complain there wasn't much to do growing up in a small town, but as I've grown up I've realized what a blessing it is to know this Italy... one that not many get to see.

I suppose to anyone else, it would just be another little town.
But to me, the beauty of it all is how many stories are tied up in this little place. The people, my family that grew up here, the tales of past times... make it magical.

I can't wait to return and relive all of these memories again. 

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