Nostalgia*: Little Italian Towns

For no reason at all, I started thinking about my 2008 trip to Italy the other day. It happened during my semester abroad, which I spend at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland. My mom and I headed off to one of the lands of our ancestors (we’re both mutts) during the long study period between the end of classes and the start of exams. We were there for nine days, eight nights, I believe.

What came to mind? What was the aspect of that long-desired journey that popped up unbidden by any conscious process?

Part of our trip was spent in the small Tuscan town of Montespertoli, about an hour or two outside of Florence. It was rather secluded and quite beautiful around our lodgings, the house of a friend, but that is not what I remembered either. I thought instead of the few minutes we spent in the town, picking up a freshly baked loaf of bread that we would dress with salt and olive oil, sitting on a bench in the piazza with a small cup of gelato (the flavor escapes me. Stracciatella? bacio? Perhaps it was something with cherries and dark chocolate). The memory flashes in my mind, such a fleeting snapshot that I could never really describe what it looked like. I remember it being small. Not many people there, very different from the time we spent in the cities.

Is the feeling you get in a small town in a foreign country due to the place itself, or is it because you’re in a new place, unfamiliar and quieter than what you’re used to?

What would it be like to live in a place like that? Would you know everyone in town? Would you meet an attractive stranger and share a bacio on a patch of grass (either the gelato, or in the other sense)?

All I can think now is how much more I’m sure I could have appreciated what was around me at the time.

 

 

*I was going to call it a “Throwback thursday” post, but “Nostalgia” just sounds so much better. It sounds like either a flowering vine or one of those nebulous diseases that are so hard to diagnose. You decide… In fact, vote! In the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Nostalgia*: Little Italian Towns

  1. I love your memories of the village of Montespertoli. I recall our walk along the road into town — although we never made it all the way there (Sabine drove us to town). Finding porcupine quills on the shoulder of the road, and stumbling upon a small deserted church and roadside shrines. Also, the olive grove behind Sabine & Salvatore’s home, and the gorgeous vista from their front door, overlooking the countryside. I also remember our brief visit to the walled ancient city of Lucca–more gelato, the road lined with Cypress trees…..So happy to have shared these experiences with you!

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