We left for Tuscany, Italy on the night of my dad’s birthday. The flight was at night and I planned on sleeping the entire way there since I had never taken an eight hour long flight and was very nervous. When we landed in Italy it felt like an eternity until they let us leave the plane, I could hardly wait to step out onto European soil.
It was lunchtime in Firenze and when we got to the hotel there was a huge welcome luncheon for us. Spinach and ricotta cheese stuffed ravioli, fresh bread and fresh butter… each dish more delicious than the next. My brother and I stuffed our faces and then hurried out into town to explore.
Every building was uniform because it was so antique looking, but unique in it’s own way; each equipped with the most beautiful stained glass or a quaint religious grotto in a corner. The roads were all cobblestone and open air markets lined entire streets closed off to motorists. Eager store owners stood out front of their small shops – their eyes full of excitement at the thought you might just stop in and buy something.
There’s one part of Italy that stands out in my mind most and that would be their strong religious convictions. I’ve never met people so enthralled in their religious beliefs. Prayer is such a huge part of Italian culture.
Even the poor in Firenze would sit on their hands and knees outside of churches and not just beg for money, but sit with their faces to the ground praying to anyone for salvation. While in Firenze we were able to visit Pisa and each building was more magnificent than the next.
The church had a ceiling made of gold. Ornate marble tiles lined every inch of the place. Murals covered entire walls and went up to meet the ceiling. The sight of it all made me want to believe in God.
I couldn’t help but think that there has to be some sort of ‘greater force’ out there, just something that would help create such beauty and ignite the spark for others to believe. The trip to Italy was fantastic and it not only helped me open my eyes to another culture but to open my heart to my own faith in a way I never dreamed possible.
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