If I could revisit any place in the world, I wouldn't hesitate to hop on a plane and live in Italy again. For a summer I dined in some of the sweetest restaurants, with the most delicious food. I ate more gelato than any person should. I walked through the street markets on my way to class, marveling at the beautiful hand crafted scarves and taking in the smell of real leather. I shopped in Italian "grocery stores." My faith in humanity was restored after losing my wallet on day 2 and having it returned to me on the way home - with everything still in tact. There really are some great people in this world. I hiked the 463 steps of the Duomo. I held up the leaning tower of Pisa. I took a gondola ride in Venice. I studied photography while walking the Italian streets. I saw the coliseum in Rome, the Vatican, and even a Pittsburgh Steelers bar. I hiked up a volcano, right after walking through the town that the same volcano destroyed so many years ago. I spent a day in the sun hiking along the ocean through the towns of Cinque Terre. I got pooped on by a pigeon (and was told that it's good luck). I swam in the Mediterranean. I made some new amazing friends. I sat on the steps of the Duomo, drinking wine (or eating gelato) with those friends, watching tourists, listening to the chatter of people out shopping or eating, and took it all in.
This was real life. Florence was my home. And every weekend was spent exploring a new part of Italy. Some of my greatest memories were spent that summer traveling and playing in Italy. I miss it SO much. I think I left a little part of my heart on those cobblestone streets.
Hope you enjoy my little trip down memory lane as much as I have. :)
*Disclaimer: all of the above photos were taken in 2009, many many years ago - before my photography skills are what they are now. So no judgements. :)