ANYONE whose family has been in the United States for only a few generations knows how often ‘the motherland’ is mentioned. My great grandparents immigrated from Italy to the US through Ellis Island in New York City back in the 1910s. Even though I came along generations later, Italy’s culture was thoroughly woven into my everyday life. I studied the history, I learned about the cities, I cooked the food, and I lived the culture.
When I was a kid my family never traveled further than an hour’s car ride away. Living rather undiversified made me yearn to be immersed in different cultures, but maybe even more so, it made me ache to finally visit Italy. How could a culture so present in my life seem so foreign? At that point, I promised myself that my first solo trans-Atlantic trip would be to Italy, and just as I imagined, from Rome to the Amalfi Coast, Italy looks exactly like a postcard.