To Italy and Back!
September 27, 2012
Two years ago, I decided to study abroad in Florence, Italy (Firenze in Italian) with 19 of my college classmates! It was fall 2010 when I took my transatlantic flight to where I was to have some of the most beautiful experiences. The people I encountered, the art I saw, and the places I visited forced me to develop a great love and admiration for this beautiful country. I wanted to go to Italy to experience the beauty and culture of a new place, and I certainly did.
I love to travel; I not only love being in a new place, but also the anticipation of something new and exciting in the process. My travels, however, were less than smooth, especially in the beginning. Traveling before I met my classmates, I had a sense of anxiety over feeling alone in a strange new city where I barely knew the language. However, I was able to recognize how amazing this opportunity was for me. Casere Paevese, 20th century author and poet, once said, "Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, sleep, dreams, sea, the sky - all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it."
I find this to be extraordinarily true. Traveling can shake you to your very core and forces you to come outside of yourself. It requires you to look at what’s around you because your normal comforts aren’t there to reassure you. It is easy to become complacent with the routine of everyday life, but traveling requires you to discover something new.
EM Forster (1879-1970), who wrote two books specifically about travel in Italy, illustrates this very well. His most famous book, Room With A View, has been made into several films. My favorite is the BBC version featuring Helen Bonham Carter. The story takes place in Florence itself, which is exciting for me because many of the sites mentioned in it are places I have been! Another book by Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread, takes place in small town in southern Italy. Both of these stories occur in the early 20th century and show what happens when people are forced to confront their own values and perspectives in facing their own experiences abroad. The Library has these stories in a variety of formats, so check them out!
Red Bridge Branch