One year ago, the Italy Blogging Roundtable published our first posts – and I’m thrilled to still, one year later, be sharing our thoughts on a chosen topic each month. It’s been interesting for the Italy Roundtable bloggers – Alexandra, Gloria, Rebecca, Melanie, and me – to read our different takes on the same subject, but we’ve especially enjoyed hearing from readers over the past year. For our one-year anniversary, we’re talking about – what else? – ANNIVERSARIES – and we’re highlighting some of the reader contributions we invited you to send in, too. Check out the links at the end of this post, and thank you for being a part of the Italy Roundtable!
anno – (noun) year
It feels like not so long ago I was visiting Italy for the first time, head poking out of the top of the water taxi from Marco Polo Airport to the canal city of Venice, sea air blasting me in the face and occasional tiny drops of water pelting my cheeks, utterly awe-struck at every single thing in my frame of sight. The taxi spilled us onto the sidewalk and we turned a corner as St. Mark’s Square curled in around us, opening its arms and enfolding us at the same time, the late-July sun still radiating from the stones under our feet. The light may have been fading, but that only meant there was a serenely ethereal glow cast across a city that, to this day, remains my favorite in all of Italy.
At least that’s how I remember it.
The year was 2001, and I was a mere 29 years old at the time. Today, having just turned 40 and with so many Italy trips in my rear-view mirror that I honestly can’t recall how many times I’ve been there, I’m prone to romanticizing that first trip like it’s something out of a Merchant Ivory film. I make no apologies for this. Italy has this effect on people, and I’m not immune.
My days in Italy feel as if they’ve blurred into one, details slipping through my fingers, but when I think of how the Italians use the word for “year” I’m inclined to think those moments aren’t truly lost.
Quanti anni hai?, they ask when they want to know how old you are, but the words mean “how many years do you have?” We possess those years, whether we can recall every second or not. I possess Italy in a similar way, by having visited the country, soaking up each trip through seemingly insignificant moments that get tucked into spots in my brain I may never find again – but probably don’t need to.
Last year marked a decade since my first trip to Italy, and it was also (somewhat ironically, I realize) the first year I haven’t set foot in the country in nearly the same amount of time. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sad about missing out on celebrating my 10-year anniversary with Italy in Italy, but when I think about all those years I have – all those days, minutes, seconds spent drinking in Italy like a sponge – I know that Italy will always be in me, even if I’m not always in Italy.
Italy is simultaneously there – sitting on the dock of southern Europe and dangling the toe of its boot in the Mediterranean – and here, a stubborn ember in my heart. This means, of course, that I happily carry Italy with me wherever I go. It also means I am never quite as whole as when I’m there.
Aspettami, cara. Torno subito.
Other Voices from the Italy Blogging Roundtable
Happiest of happy anniversaries to my Italy Blogging Roundtable cohorts! Find out what anniversaries they’re talking about by clicking on the links below.
- ArtTrav – Predicting our future: a first date at Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden in Maremma
- At Home in Tuscany – Celebrating your wedding anniversary in Tuscany
- Brigolante – Happy Anniversary to Us!
- Italofile – Anniversaries in Italian History: Dates Every Curious Traveler to Italy Should Know
Invited Guests at the Italy Roundtable
Last month we asked you to pull up a chair to the Italy Roundtable – yes, you – if you had something to say on any one of the topics we’ve covered in the previous year. Many of you took us up on the offer. Here are a few of my favorites.
- Kate paints a lovely picture of an evening in Sicily; it’s why she says she came to Italy, although I’d guess she may not have known that when she first arrived. Such is the charm of the country – you don’t know why you’re there until long after you’re there.
- Kate evidently was so taken with our invitation that she actually wrote two posts in reply – the second is about a gift given to her by a former student, and I dare you to read it without ending up with a big grin on your face.
- Nerys wrote about how her version of comfort food has changed since leaving Wales and moving to Milan – it’s no longer chicken soup.
- Lisa writes about Italy for the same reasons she feels at home there – and much of that has to do with how the women in her family take on renovation projects.
- Linda has lots of reasons to write about Italy – some practical, some ethereal, and all lovely.
- Diana’s poetic post about the elements has the calming effect of a deep breath (which I’m fairly certain she intended). Also, I’d love to see the sunset from that little wall by her barn someday.
photo by Rob Young