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Italy, my love...

You were surreal,

You were deliberate,

You were compelling,

You were calming,

You were spirited,

But most of all you were in essence, extraordinarily simple.

And how?

Every gaze into the distance was to wonder, how the amber colours strewn by the sun melted into the lavender haze of the sky. Walking at the pace of your heartbeat, the cobblestone beneath your feet felt like sand taking you away from time itself. Akin to a manifestation from an artist’s dream, you spot a canvas of colours from the buildings lining the mountainside. The lemony walls bedecked with bright pink geraniums and purple petunias hanging from antique windows, something out of a pointillism painting. In a beeline, you reach close enough to be cast under the spell of fresh basil that sneakily hides behind the window garden with its peppery notes.

Matching the vividness of the floral vision, each window comes alive - a couple rolling pasta together while the young man breaking for a smoke is pushing his bullmastiff back as he is getting the waft of that tangy spaghetti sauce. The middle aged lady wearing oversized gloves to prune her garden to perfection, while the teenager is sitting, strumming his guitar. For a moment, you are a part of that street’s community, with a smile exchanged, a short stare and a nod, all at one glance.

Just as the street turns, a small church door opens into the world of Roman grandeur and strength. You couldn't resist taking a peek inside and saw elderly couples gracefully dancing to the delicate sound of guitar strings playing "Volare". With the prance of a toddler, they move trying to stay in formation and giggle their way through a missed step. At that moment, an elderly gentleman approached and asked for a dance when he saw you swaying to the music. Before you knew it, you were swept up in the sheer joy of a simple truth - that we exist to sing and dance.

A short walk later, you see the rocky beach upfront where the land is silently hugging the mighty ocean. Similar to crabs burrowing in the sand looking seaward, there is a uniform speckle of azure umbrellas that lines the water’s edge, with the people basking under and staring out at the water. You suddenly feel the salty ocean breeze as it kisses your face, with a whisper from the rustle of the lemon trees, the slightest shift in the clothes hung to dry and the boats rocking on the docks in rhythm. You wish to bask in the moment for as long as it takes to absorb everything.

Finding your chair, you are immediately greeted with a smile. The ordinary process turns into a conversation with rich recommendations of the the Italian palette, with a side of how you are possibly retracing the steps of one of the world’s most famous artists on this day. With a brush stroke like precision, the swirls on the golden brown elixir intoxicate you to a waking slumber as you sit and seem to almost smell coffee for the first time. The rumble of passing cyclists and cars merge into the sound of guitar strings as someone nearby begins to play. You close your eyes, bite into a deliciously gooey combination of mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil on oven-baked bread until your heartstrings synchronize perfectly with the guitarist across the street - That's Amore. More so, with a glass of Chianti.

Full - tummy and heart - you wind up in the physical pages of history. From one room to another, the museum shows you how someone experienced this wholesomeness and translated it into art, design and sculpture. Immersed in everything from Vinci’s study of the human body, Carravagio’s baroque influences, Bellini’s contribution to the Italian renaissance, to the heart of trade in grapes, grain and oil from Sicily and Venice, all evidence shows the vivaciousness of the Italians as a people from the beginning of time. Whether it's Verdi, Bocelli, Bennett or Einaudi, your senses awaken and you feel a tingle of excitement. All expressed through the instruments of Gods and man, you understand what we all have in common - we all know that when magic appears in seemingly ordinary things, your heart finds a home.

Have you ever been to a place where every mundane task is infused with such immense creativity, bravery, and tranquility that it feels like a gift to your soul, much like it was bestowed upon Michelangelo? Someone once said, "What is the fatal charm of Italy? What do we find here that can be found nowhere else? In my opinion, it's the permission to be human that you can experience here, which many other places and countries have lost over time.”

Or my version - So what if I found a place which felt like eating all colours of gelato in one go. Literally and figuratively, of course. The universe brought us together the first time, but now my dear, our love will manifest our reunion.

Until then,


PS. My family and friends are well aware that this is a blended recollection of our experiences. Salute!


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