What I Learned on My Trip to Italy

I’m a big believer in travel as a way to expand your horizons and have an extraordinary life.  I’ve always wanted to go to Italy and did so at the end of last year.  Here’s what I learned:

1. Ice cream (gelato) should be eaten every day and stands should be everywhere.  The Italians take great joy in eating and in socializing; and their gelato stands are the perfect way to combine the two.  A simple yet fabulous pleasure we too often deny ourselves.

 2. To be awestruck is a good thing.  To be in the Sistine Chapel and look up at Michelangelo’s ceiling, to stand in the Roman Coliseum – when was the last time you were awestruck?  How can you pass through this world and not gaze upon its wonders?

 3. There is no substitute for experience.  My undergraduate degree is in art history.  I’ve seen many photos of the great buildings and monuments and paintings in Italy.  But there is absolutely nothing like seeing them in person.  You can’t get a sense of the scale – I don’t care if you have video or 3-D computer graphics.  You need to be on the water approaching Venice to have really seen it. You cannot live your life vicariously.  And please tell this to your kids – watching someone else climb a mountain on YouTube doesn’t make you a mountain climber.  Nor does playing a mountain climbing video game.

 4. We have a lot of stuff.  We have huge cars compared to those in Italy.  In general, the Italians have smaller homes and less stuff than Americans.  And Italian TV?  We have maybe a million more channels and programs.  Italians actually leave their homes and spend time with each other.  They enjoy long meals, conversation, and human interaction.  I’m not judging – I’m saying being in another culture helps you see yours more clearly.

 5. We should all aspire to be more.  Seeing these amazing works of art and architecture reminded me of the genius of man, of the greatness of our dreams and our ability. Will you make the most of your dreams and your abilities?  Will you leave a mark on the world that might last forever?

Viva La Italia!

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