Everytime I visit a new place, I try to sum it up in a single theme; the stand out thing that encapsulates the city for me.
Take Italy. In my (so far) short time here, I see Firenze as the city of beauty. The art, the architecture, the landscape… the people! Everything is beautiful, and you can’t help but be infected by that beauty. Roma was vast, oh so vast, and full of this opulent history. Everything overwhelmed… I am sure you could walk the streets of Roma for the rest of your life and never see everything.
And then there’s Siena. We visited this quaint city yesterday (after planning to go to Lucca but missing the bus due to going out the night before – awkward); and you know, it just took me far away.
It took me away from the hustle and bustle of Firenze life. It took me away from this stress I’ve had hanging over my head the past couple of weeks. It took me away from the reams of tourists and this feeling of inadequacy that I just can’t seem to shake.
What it did do was throw me right into this little hub of Italian life and culture. The type of place you couldn’t help but feel you’d stumbled upon by accident, where every turn presented you with even more magical sights. A fairytale trek through authentic Italy at its very best.
And yes, I absolutely loved it.
Before I came to Italy, Siena is how I imagined it to be. Italy in a nutshell, I guess. Fresh green landscapes, spellbinding buildings propped up on towering hills, winding streets with tall buildings in every colour under the sun. Not a word of English to be heard, warm Italian residents welcoming you with open arms, huge piazzas full of children laughing and playing.
It had it all. And we just soaked up every moment.
We had no plan or structure for the day. We just walked, walked and then walked a little bit more. We stopped for pizza (of course), enjoyed gelato (no shit) and sipped prosecco cocktails as the sun set (duh). We spoke for hours about all the things that had been weighing on our minds. We planned new adventures, we discussed our dreams for the year ahead.
We realised how lucky we were… how lucky we are… to be living this life.
And that alone. That was what I needed to give me a bit of perspective on the worries that have been creeping back on in.
Now, sitting writing this on the balcony as the sun beats down so effortessly, all I can think about is how Italy has stolen my heart. It just… has it. Whatever it is. All I know is it makes me happy in a way I never knew I could be.
I hope that feeling never changes.
‘Open my heart and you will see Graved inside of it “Italy”.’