About a year ago I went on a two week long trip around Europe. The first week focused on the historical and gorgeous corners of Italy and the second week was split up between Switzerland, Paris and London. Italy had special meaning to me, I am Italian and my grandmother emigrated from Sicily with her family when she was young. I have always wanted to see her country and soak myself in my heritage and the experience was more wonderful than I imagined.
As crazy as this sounds, I felt a connection to Italy (Hi, my name is Rachel and I feel connections to countries). I sensed that I fit well there, like a puzzle piece finding its place. The people, the sun, the music, the pace, the foods, the wine and the lifestyle were all inherently me. Then throw in the history, the bricks, the architecture and the streets and it was my dream.
One place in particular in Italy, called Siena, was my favorite. I was only there for a few hours but that was all it took for me to fall in love. Roger Allam wrote in Players of Shakespeare 2: Further Essays in Shakespearean Performance by Players with the Royal Shakespeare Company, “I took many trips to Siena, and was struck by its beauty, but also by the beauty of the Siennese themselves. They are dark, fierce, and aristocratic, very different to the much paler Venetians or Florentines. They have always looked like this, as the paintings of their ancestors testify. I observed the groups of young people, the lounging grace with which they wore their clothes, their sense of always being on show. I walked the streets, they paraded them. It did not matter that I do not speak a word of Italian; I made up stories about them, and took surreptitious photographs.” This quote captures the creativity that is ignited within you when you walk around this gorgeous town. Whether you like pictures, writing, reading, music or film, Siena pulls the arts right out of your fingertips.
That is how Siena made me feel. It made me want to feel. It ignited creativity and passion; it draws you into one of its outdoor tables. It romances you with food and wine and encourages you to read and write. It sings you songs with the afternoon air and stirs up your soul. When I think of words, of beauty, of culture and stories, I think of being somewhere in Siena.