Unfortunately, the best moments of our lives are often the ones that we don’t fully appreciate until after the fact. Many people waste their youths by staring too intently at the future, later realizing that their memories are what they cherish the most. The best way for a still-youthful person to learn that experiences should be enjoyed in the moment is to realize his or herself that time slips away quickly, and that opportunities can be lost if they aren’t capitalized on immediately. I discovered this during my most recent visit to Italy with my family.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
Through a long, complicated history, my mother has relatives in Italy. Because of this, my family has had the opportunity to travel to Italy numerous times and visit these relatives. However, as college inches its way closer, my opportunities are dwindling. My family will only take me to Italy one more time, and then I will be expected to provide for myself. This has opened my eyes: I need to fully experience this last vacation in every way possible, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
My great-grandfather’s house is the place that I cherish the most in Italy. It is on the outskirts of Greve, Florence. The house serves as a bed and breakfast when we aren’t staying there. The foot-thick walls, antique furniture, wood burning stove, and lack of anything but cookies for breakfast has made it feel like home to me. After exploring the nearby woods with my sister and playing soccer with my great-uncle and his daughter, this trip has shown me how much this place means to me. I want to continue to visit it in the future, but I will have to learn Italian better first. During this vacation, my brief moments of communication were either in simple English or simple Italian, yet they were still priceless moments. My family in Italy has a great sense of humor and love to tease us, yet they are also very generous. For example, one of my uncles owns land on an island near Italy, and he intends to let us stay there for some time when we next visit. Like always, we will be seeing many different parts of Italy next summer.
A common place we go is Rimini, a city on the beach. We were out before the crowds of people had arrived; even the masses of pigeons weren’t out yet. We visited my mom’s friends from middle school in Rimini, and later shopped in the many little stores that we discovered. My mom’s friend’s son is my age, so we hung out for some of the time. I’m hoping that as we get older, we will continue to communicate, because he is also fun to talk to.
Like the tourists we are, my family stopped at the Duomo in Milan and climbed to the top. The view of the city is incredible from the top of the church, but even more magnificent is the building itself. It is hard to imagine how they managed to build it, especially with all of the detail put into it. I still remember seeing a small bird carved into the stone by one of the staircases, looking as lifelike as a real bird.
Some of my most valued memories come from Italy. I hope my fellow tourists can appreciate the country like I have learned to. Pick a hotel in the city you want to see, and then just let yourself enjoy the scenery.
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