Ashley Hicks Hendren ENG 101 Essay 1 A Trip to Italy Vacation and travel is a phenomenon which strikes a chord with nearly every human being on the planet. While true, there are many without the means to engage in such activity, there is little doubt that the primal urge to escape one’s everyday surroundings strikes all but the most reclusive of people. There are many different locales to which one may escape, as well as a large variety of reasons for traveling.
Be it sandy beaches, or snowy mountains, for family recreation or for spiritual soul-searching. . . a long vacation tends to be good for the mind. Among the thousands upon thousands of vacation hotspots spread out across the planet, one of the most popular locales is Italy. The country stands proud as one of the most visited places on Earth because there are a large variety of activities one can partake in, as well as a multitude of places to visit amongst the country’s varied landscape.
For the humble traveler, a trip to Italy would serve as one of the most memorable and luscious experiences they would ever partake in. Italy is a beautiful country with many reasons why one would travel there, from local cuisine, to a breadth of landmarks detailing the country’s long and interesting history, and a storied culture revolving around family values. Italy is a magnificent vacation area full of excitement and enticing opportunities.
From Florence to Venice, food and dining is an integral and cultured part of Italy’s background, and something which any would-be tourist must experience. True Italian food carries with it a large range of emotions which impact the consumer long before it even touches one’s taste buds. Walking down the winding, cobblestone streets, or perhaps even sinking down into a gondola during a romantic evening floating through the calming canals, the sights and smells of Italy’s cuisine are impossible to escape.
As smoke and steam bellow out from the various diners, small or large, the sizzling sounds of lean fish with the whitest of meat, and highly-seasoned potatoes dazzle the ears. Upon finding a seat in one of the various beautiful dining destinations scattered across the country, one is sure to be struck by the pure joviality of the eating environment. Much like France, the eating habits in Italy stretch well beyond the need to survive, or the cravings endure for certain tastes. Eating in Italy is as much a cultural pastime as playing baseball in the United States of America.
As the smooth texture of Italy’s various famed pasta dishes lay upon one’s tongue, they are engaging in not just a country’s dish, but its lifestyle and culture as well. Once a visitor has had their fill of Italy’s expertly crafted meals, they can begin the process of true cultural immersion by visiting and learning the history of Italy’s landmarks. With its mythology and culture stemming from Greece, Italy was once upon a time one of the greatest powers on the planet due to the Roman Empire.
Examining the towering heights of the Roman Colosseum or the Parthenon is breathtaking in every sense of the word. The amount of effort and time it must have taken the Roman society to build their landmarks is staggering to consider. With even just the slightest amount of imagination, its easy to picture one of the many genius’ from the Renaissance slaving away in their workshop, such as the mathematical and architectural pathfinder known as Brunelleschi, or the phenomenal creative genius of Leonardo DaVinci.
Recalling the various figures and places from Italian history isn’t dismissive of the fact that they are separated by time, but rather it calls to mind the fact that the beautiful tourist destinations that one can experience while visiting the country are the products of centuries, upon centuries of history. Yet, there is much to take away from a trip to Italy, beyond the ideas of delicious foods, wondrous landscapes, and Ferraris. The culture of Italy is something which could easily stick within ones mind well after they have left.
Perhaps the most striking cultural aspect of Italian everyday-life is the central role of family and familial values. In the South of Italy, in fact, it is not uncommon for even extended family to live within one home, sharing every part of their life together. While one may not observe the emotional and financial support these families give to each other internally firsthand, there is undoubtedly a sense of pride and respect that stems from these close-knit family ties which extend into societal life, such as the high respect that is held for elders no matter where one occupies Italy.
In addition to this, visitors and outsiders are often treated with an immaculate kindness that permeates social gatherings. One could infer that family values in Italy have become so strong that they have stretched beyond literal family, and encapsulate the human race itself instead. Alongside these typical moral values, there is an emphasis on proper form and etiquette in all aspects of Italian life. Social appearance is a very important part of Italian life, as the projection of oneself can extend to represent not just the self, but family and country as well.
First-impressions are considered one of the most vital parts of social interactions, because of the thought that said impression will last, and the fear of a tarnished reputation promotes joyous and welcoming greetings. These close meetings with people that one has, perhaps, not even met, are sure to be remembered by the various tourists who come and go. This may be due to other countries’ comparatively cold salutations, such as in France or the United States, where the people between oneself and destination are just obstacles.
Italy is an amazing seaside country with hundreds, if not thousands of ways to attract tourists. The famous fish dishes, pasta, and wine that Italy is host to are, undoubtedly, some of the foremost attractions for outsiders, especially for visitors arriving from the States. . . the colorful and heavily seasoned national dishes are sure to evoke the life within ones palate, a palate that is sure to grow dormant as one becomes accustomed and overly-acclimated to their own local cuisine.
Once one is tired of these dishes, if that is possible, they are sure to enjoy the strikingly beautiful landmarks which scatter the horizon, such as the Parthenon, which evoke thoughts of all the brilliant minds which stemmed from the age of the Roman empire and beyond. Lastly, it is thoroughly enjoyable to experience a culture that is in high contrast to one’s own. Especially if said contrasts are positive and influential as is the case with Italy’s family values and social values. Italy holds a vivid beauty that flows throughout all aspects of its culture. Works Cited “Italian Culture”. Hubpages. com. Accessed on Feb. 10, 2013. Web.