My summers are a bit different than the average East Coast girl. I was born in Italy, lived there until the age of five and have a father who does not have his green card (despite 25 years of marriage to an American). Due to these circumstances, every June my family and I embark on a long journey to the southern tip of Italy, specifically the island of Capri.
Let me start by saying Italy is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The antique villages with traditional architecture, the delicious handmade pasta and the breathtaking art in museums are all gems that Italy has to offer. You can choose to learn about the history and go to the opera house or simply swim in crystal clear water and eat pasta every day. The absolute best of both worlds.
This year I was fortunate enough to have my roommate Vanessa visit for one week and my boyfriend for another 10 days. It was amazing to be able to show the place I call home to people that are my home back in Storrs. I was determined to explore everything the island has to offer, so I created a list of activities we absolutely had to accomplish.
On her first day we went to Anacapri, a town located on the higher end of the island, to sightsee the amazing view of the Amalfi Coast. We were able to see neighboring islands, such as Ischia, Sorrento and Procida. At night we went for drinks at a local beach that had live music and a gorgeous view of the sunset. While every day was spectacular, my favorite was when we went boating. There’s something different about seeing an island from the sea rather than by foot. We were able to see the cliffs that Emperor Tiberius supposedly threw his wives and slaves off of, the numerous caves and best of all, the Blue Grotto. The Blue Grotto is a famous cave that can be entered by swimming or by little row boats that are available throughout the island. The light coming in from the cave reflects off the walls and makes the water the most beautiful shade of blue. Together we made our way into the cave and witnessed the beauty that nature has to offer. The best moment was seeing the look on her face when she turned around and saw the color of the water. These are moments that I will never forget and that will always hold a special place in my heart.
My boyfriend arrived two days after Vanessa left, meaning it was time to explore again. It was so much fun to introduce him to all my friends and extended family that he had never met before. While of course we swam in the sea and explored the historical land sites, we also visited Positano, somewhere even I had never been before. There was something special about us both being tourists at the same time and trying to figure out our way around. Despite it not being the safest and smartest idea, we spontaneously decided to rent a moped and drive it along the Amalfi Coast. The first five minutes were a struggle, but once we got to flat land it was the most exhilarating feeling in the world. Regardless of the unbearable heat and sweating through our clothes, it will always be one of the best days of the entire summer.
To anyone who is debating going to Italy, or Europe in general, whether it be to study abroad or for a vacation, I highly encourage you to do so. Not only does traveling expand the mind and soul, it also exposes you to different lifestyles of the world. I can safely say that my time in Italy has shaped who I am today. Not only has it affected the way I see the world, but it made me realize there is so much more to learn and see than the small town I live in, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Jordana Castelli is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.