On June 25, 1997, my husband and I were part of a 9-day tour to Italy. The group consisted of CCRI students, teachers, family and friends.
We arrived in Milan and tour Padua, Verona, Venice, Florence, Assisi, and Rome. Professor Maria Mansella did a wonderful job of arranging the tour from the beginning to end. Our monthly meetings prepared us for many cultural aspects of the trip and gave us a chance to get to know one another beforehand.
I was delighted to be able to practice speaking Italian. It had been a few years since I studied Italian at school and I was afraid that I had forgotten much of the language. But I found that it came back to me and I was even able to pick up few new words and phrases. I felt confident using the local transportation, shopping and ordering food in restaurants.
It was a treat to visit the places that I had learned about in my Italian classes at CCRI. The beauty of Italy is stunning and the past is so very well preserved that we really had a good feeling of what Italy was like centuries ago. For me, it was a dream come true. It was my first chance to see the country that my ancestors loved but left due to economic difficulties. I remember how my grandparents talked fondly of Italy and their desire to go back some day, a dream that was never realized. I would have loved for them to know that I visited and found it just as beautiful as they remembered.
My husband and I got an extra treat that regrettably my fellow travelers didn't get to experience. We visited the family Maurizio Martinoli, an exchange student from Rome who lived with us for a year. Among other things, we visited their home and enjoyed a real Italian home cooked meal.
They were wonderful hosts as they took us around Rome and the surrounding area. It was great to be able to get a glimpse of what life is like in Italy away from the commercialized areas that cater to the tourists. I hope to continue to learn the language and learn more about this remarkable country. All in all, it was a wonderful trip that I will remember forever. Special thanks to Professors Maria Mansella and Anthony DiRuzzo who made what was only a dream to most of us come true.