I was seven. I remember the flight; it lasted at least seven hours. I was tired, but excited all at once. I remember stepping onto the ground and smelling the air. It smelled so different from my home in America. It smelled good, free, fascinating, and spirited. Italy was a glorious place filled with laughter, cobblestone streets, and food I would still die to eat.
Everyday we walked at least 7 miles visiting different Italian historical sites. My dad used to run the college trip to Italy, and our family was fortunate enough to be included on the trip. If this were not the case, and if it were just my family, we would have taxied our way through the bustling streets of Italy. However, there were about twenty-five students to transport, and taxis would have been too costly. So, we walked or took a bus for long rides. We visited St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, the ash-ridden remains of Pompeii, and the statue of David in Florence. To this day, I have very fond memories of each place I saw. I threw coins in the Trevi Fountain, took a miserably bumpy, but worthwhile, boat ride to the coast of Capri, and I got to ride on a two-day cruise to the lovely island of Sicily. But, although I was able to visit some of the most famous landmarks in Italy, my fondest memories are the times I spent with others. Italy is so very historical and complex, if I did not have family there, I would not have enjoyed it at all.
Every night my family would go out to a restaurant with the college students. There was one restaurant in Rome that was particularly exciting. Meals in Italy are quite different. First of all, there are seven courses. Secondly, the portions can vary tremendously in size depending on what you order. Thirdly, if you order a pizza, you get a whole pizza. It was heaven for a seven year old. I did get quite full quite fast, however. When you finish eating in Italy, the Italian cooks give you more, and if you politely refuse, they grab your fork and begin to feed you. Most people would find that rude, but in Italy it is quite comical, and part of the character of the people.
We stayed in a hotel called the Santa Ana in Rome. Out of all the hotels we stayed at, this one remains engrained in my memory. It was small, but absolutely quaint. As you enter, there is a wall to the left across from the counter. This wall is painted with Italian columns in front of a little town. The smell in the lobby is one of welcome and comfort. I knew from the moment I walked in that I would like it there. The stairs are quite narrow, and I had to walk up them with my suitcase behind me. They curve around to the upstairs where there is a hall filled with little rooms. In the back there was a little patio with tables to eat at, and downstairs was a room for breakfast. I loved this room, and every morning I woke up, went downstairs, and ate a boiled egg!
I will always cherish my memories of Italy, and I hope one day I will be able to visit again as an adult so I will be able to understand more about the history. Italy was breathtaking, to say the least, and I would love to live there if I were not an American.
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