A Love Letter to Italy

Dear Italy,

I was awakened by sunlight dancing between the curtains in my hotel room and the smell of chocolate-stuffed croissants. I woke up to my roommate smiling to the soothing music playing from speakers. The thought of having my first bubble bath left me giddy inside. I woke up to you, Italy. Another day in which sun-baked pedestrians rode on bicycles throughout the city, even though cars drive and people walk on the same road. I remember landing in Bologna, and the bus ride into the Tuscany region granting me slumber and surprise. I couldn't believe I was here, passing by cottages with thriving gardens filled with blues, purples, and reds. I admire the afternoon walks with my friends spiraling around El Duomo, despite the fact that it is just a cathedral in the eyes of those who do not know the levels of art inside - the carved gold, the beautiful view on top. I could almost read everything in Italian because my Spanish is your cousin. You made me so happy.

The city of Florence was full of art museums. It was beautiful to know a city that indulged in art. The tourist attractions could left your mouth dry and your eyes mesmerized from the brushstrokes of Botticelli, Michelangelo, Brotelesky, and Filippo Lippi. It was different than my homeland of New York, where Photoshop leaves pedestrians wanting more, to be more, to never leave in a sinister way. Florence had this aroma of crafted carelessness. The type of carelessness that made you feel free and loved.

I left Florence with flowers in my hair and a smile on my face. In the Boboli Gardens, the Spanish princess who had carved freedom in the backyard knew I would stop by only for a taste.

The city of Venice was beautiful. We spent three days on a scavenger hunt for a tree charm that a yellow lover back home would receive, but never deserve, following gondolas and wondering where their destination lied. They say Venice is sinking two centimeters every century, yet Venice floats and grins. To be temporary is to be powerful. Venice is a work of art that has mastered self-preservation. Its beauty is still imprinted on my heart.

Italy was mask making, fruit vendors, glassblowing factories, gelato, spaghetti, club sandwiches, and more. My love for the country is infinite.

Thank you, Italy. You were so sweet to me.

By Natalia Mercedes Rodriguez

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