Italy to me was always a fairytale, synonymous with Alice in Wonderland or Cinderella. It was a story I would tell myself, a place I wanted to believe existed but could never really be sure of. Even after I had arrived in Italy it seemed to be a dream, another book into which I had inserted myself as a character, or a movie I was watching but couldn’t reach. I would run my hands along the dirty walls of Rome’s alleyways, breath in the richness of the local fare and convince my body and mind that what was happening was real. I was worried that once I returned to the States, it would be another experience enjoyed but forgotten. It didn’t take long for me to realize that those are the moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Trying to capture the full impact that Italy had on my life is impossible, the changes are multifaceted and forever multiplying. However there is something to be said about total immersion in another’s lifestyle. Everything, the way they speak, eat, travel, and view the world is so completely different from what I grew up with even though I come from a very Italian family. It forced me to open my mind to not only the ways of Italian living but the possible lifestyles of others around the globe. Simple things such as when they wake up in the morning, speak to how they approach the day, and encouraged me to question things I merely accepted in America. I’ve come back with a different set of priorities, and a new appreciation for my experience.
Living it Italy also greatly influenced my personal and artistic goals. Learning about great works of art in a textbook is so completely different from experiencing the real thing that I am nearly spoiled to classroom techniques. There before my eyes was the birthplace of incredible artistic talent and ideology. My artwork changed as a reaction to the old techniques with which I was surrounded, the many modern artists I was living with, and the approach locals had to the subject. Not to mention the professors in my program came from all over the U.S and all over Italy. I was exposed to a plethora of people in the field, and classes that are not available to me at Hartford. What I have seen can never be unseen, and can only add to my skill set.
I was somewhat disappointed to come back to the U.S after such an influential time abroad, but I do so with a new attitude and perspective. Whereas before I fell prey to the trivial worries of my day to day life, and the grind of school and work; I now approach it with a fresh set of eyes. I am able to compare the knowledge I gained in Italy to the things I learn here. I realize that everything I see and hear is a privilege, and just one more thing to add to my repertoire. Usually, my personality tends towards the “grass is always greener” saying, where I am constantly looking to the next big experience. This trip provided moments that forced me to acknowledge that Italy is my greener. It has always been a desire to live and create in Italy but now it is a necessity.