There’s No Place Like Home

While traveling through several cities in Tuscany, I have enjoyed the little differences about each of them. When comparing these cities to home, I must say that when we arrived at the minimetro station (literally a tiny subway) yesterday, I was reminded of Athens and Atlanta. There were people walking around who were dressed for the soccer game as well as vendors selling food and souvenirs on the streets and it made me miss Georgia Football so much. That part of the town also looked kind of like Atlanta, but with less skyscrapers. Every city is a little different here, and I think this one was the most industrialized, but once we took the minimetro into the historic center, it was like we were in another world.

Yesterday we traveled to Assisi and Perugia, two gorgeous towns that are about an hour from Cortona. I really loved each of them and hope to go back someday and spend more time. I’m so glad that we get to see so many cities, but I wish we could have more time in all of them. Anyway, we saw some pretty interesting things & I can’t wait to share the photos with everyone on Tuesday.

While in Assisi, I saw a man painting the landscape near Santa Chiara and just had to photograph him. Thankfully he was really friendly and handed me his business card so that I could send him the photos. He spoke some English and I learned that his name is Igor & that he’s been painting for many years. He said that he had been to Cortona and that it was a lovely place & also suggested that I go to Montepulciano, which I may do in just a few weeks! Anyway, his painting of the landscape was really beautiful and captured the light perfectly. I really enjoy getting to meet people here and wish I spoke Italian so that I could talk to more of the locals. We also got to see the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi and it was really incredible. There were tons of different paintings all throughout the building and I’m pretty sure we could’ve spent the entire day just looking at them. One of the rooms was actually damaged pretty badly because of an earthquake in 1997, but I wouldn’t have known just from looking at things. It was miraculously put back together and looks as good as it can considering its age.

In Perugia, we had a good bit of free time, which was so nice. I grabbed a quick lunch (a slice of pizza & those delicious fries I posted a picture of yesterday on Instagram) and then walked around for a while. I found a really cute little store and even though most things were under 20 euro, I could tell the quality was bad and just couldn’t bring myself to buy anything. I know that Perugia is known for chocolate, but I was really unimpressed with the chocolate stores I saw, so I didn’t buy any. I wandered around some more, got some granola bars at Coop (like a small grocery store), and then went to the museum. It was so wonderful and I have really become interested in Christian art lately. I think I’m beginning to enjoy looking at art like that because I now recognize the scenes from the Bible. It’s fascinating to see how each artist depicts certain scenes, especially the Last Supper. I notice kind of random things in each scene, like St. John’s hairshirt, and St. John sleeping in most paintings of the Last Supper, and yesterday I began to notice that sometimes baby Jesus wears rosary beads. I have no idea why, but one day I’ll research all of these things. I could’ve spent a ton of time in that museum but I had to rush through the end of it — I had no idea how large it was! I also could’ve spent forever in the museum store. I have a real problem with wanting to buy a ridiculous amount of books and other items from museums, so it’s a good thing I was rushed. I even saw children’s books that teach them about Dante’s Inferno — we had seen them in Rome but I didn’t get a good photo… they’re too funny! After the museum I got gelato and took a much needed nap on the bus back to Cortona. I woke up just before we arrived to a beautiful sunset, which was no surprise as we have those pretty often here.

Today, I went for a run in the park and then walked through town to see what it was like on a Sunday. It’s officially tourist season here so a lot of stores and restaurants are opening up & lots of people are walking around when it’s nice out. I’ll have to take photographs of Cortona again soon! It’s like a new town compared to how it was when we arrived. I’m mainly excited about the gelato store that just opened a few weeks ago. If you’ve never had Snickers gelato, I promise it’s as good as it sounds and I will probably eat enough for the both of us. There’s also a nice shoe store in town that I’ve been meaning to check out and there are so many clothing stores open now, so I will probably come back with a little something new in my wardrobe.

I am so glad that the weather was nice on Saturday (much better than the crazy windstorm last week and the rain today) & can’t wait to show everyone the pictures. They’ll be up on Tuesday as long as the wifi cooperates.

Also, I am so excited to see what Easter will be like here in Italy. There are several Catholic Churches around the town and I am sure that there will be even more tourists here for the wonderful holiday. That being said, I miss being at Athens Church every Sunday. I am so excited to get back to Athens because while being able to watch Andy Stanley on my laptop is super convenient while I’m here, it really isn’t the same as going to church with my best friend and feeling at home on Sunday mornings. Also, no amount of butter could ever make the rolls here taste like a biscuit from Bojangles, which is too close to church for my own good. Being here is wonderful, but Athens is home and I can’t wait to be back in 6 weeks. I’m already excited about all the food I can eat when I get home, but I know I’m going to miss the abundance of pizza, pasta, and bread with olive oil here (it’s like Carrabba’s everyday). Being in Italy has made me so appreciative of the things we take for granted at home — namely, wifi, ovens, and dryers, but also how close my family and friends are at any given moment. I think that after being here, the 45 minute drive from Monroe to Athens will feel like nothing, though it would be nice if 78 was a train route like it would be here. Anyway, I’ll post the pictures on Tuesday & I will be home in 6 weeks from tomorrow! I’m seriously already thinking about what I’ll do on my next trip to Italy, though I have no idea when that will be. This place is wonderful and I can’t wait to come back for a few weeks at some point, but there’s no place like home.

Ciao!

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