Imagine: A Dream of Romulus and Remus, or better said Romolo e Remo (in Italiano). . . A dream so powerfully transmitted into my waking life that I had no business thinking myself the wiser and ignoring it. Want a quick peek into the legend of the two brothers, one of which is responsible for bestowing ROMA with its name… Romolo e Remo were twin brothers, born of a priestess. Some stories say that the god Mars impregnated her when she was a Virgin, and after she gives birth she is to be murdered for losing her chastity. Instead though, they simply imprison her, and take the twins to kill them. By the grace of Mars, their father, the baby boys cannot be killed, and they sail down the Tiber River and are found and raised by a SHE-WOLF / LUPA, who gives them milk. The myth is a fantastic one, and I encourage you to search for the full story if interested.
In regards to my dream, there was a planet called ROMOLO, and his moon was called REMO. Details aside, when I woke I had such a strong pull to Rome, to see what it all meant. I debated the idea of Winter Holidays in Italia for a few more days, mostly because of the logistics with the Roman. When I finally decided that it was INTUITION / INTUIZIONE speaking to me in my dreams my Roma ticket was booked and the intention sent out into the Universe.
QU-EEN RETURNS TO ITALIA! / QU-EEN RITORNA IN ITALIA
I don’t know if you remember my 2017 Goals and Intentions Post, but high on the list was my desire to return to Italia and to Learn Italian. And I took my Manifestation Practice to a whole new level this year, believing in the power of MY INTENTION / MIA INTENZIONE, believing too in the timing of everything, in Divine Timing. Now I know you are dying to know, where did Universe guide you in Bella Italia?
My trip began with a reunion, lots of kisses, and a local bar serving local craft Italian beers on a windy night. I spent just one night, one morning and an obligatory meal in Roma, Caccio e Pepe for those of you that know how I roll. Without any doubt in my Roman’s plan, we set off for our Roadtrip through LAZIO and UMBRIA with destinations in epic TOSCANA: where we experienced the pleasures of Siena, Colle di Val d’Elsa, San Gimignano and Firenze. Meals to die for (which I’ll cover in greater detail in future region-specific posts), wine in abundance, new villages, new landscapes, and Winter Vibes to take in. I had never been in Italy or Tuscany during WINTER / INVERNO before, but if you don’t mind a bit of rain, or grey skies at times, this time of year more than makes up for it with the cozy and relaxed atmosphere in restaurants and bars, everyone at their own pace, and with touches of Christmas cheer tinting the STRADE e PIAZZE. With my insider there was never a wrong move, never a wrong dish chosen, NEVER A BAD GLASS OF WINE, THIS BEING ARGUABLY THE BEST WINE REGION OF ITALY / MAI UN BICCHIERE DI VINO CATTIVO, QUESTA È PROBABILMENTE LA REGIONE CON IL MIGLIOR VINO ITALIANO, never a moment I thought about being anywhere else. Italia offers you the chance to be completely consumed in the present, using all of your senses to experience the pleasures of the now.
A few days later in Firenze I began my SOLO JOURNEY / VIAGGIO DA SOLO in the country, though being in the city of the greatest artists of all time made me feel more at ease. I walked a little taller through the streets, almost like I had breathed a bit of Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio and Botticelli’s arrogant air. I didn’t mind it one bit though. I first visited Firenze almost 9 years ago, and walking the streets all these years later, I was still just as curious. The Uffizi Gallery kept me busy for hours, but so did the streets. I woke up early to walk where they had walked, the greats, the legends. Some mornings, only the pigeons and I were in the city streets that early, but I didn’t mind it one bit. I even spent New Year’s Eve following a marching band, locals and non-locals through narrow streets and piazze. My first New Year’s ever spent without loved ones, but I allowed for an adventure of a different kind, by going with the flow and not questioning it. My compass took me next to LIGURIA, on the Northern Coast of Italia, where Cinque Terre was calling. And wasn’t I the luckiest one to have chosen Corniglia of the 5 villages to spend my nights.
Corniglia sits in the middle, the third of the 5 villages on the Coast, and it’s the only one that is 100m away from the Sea, which presents its own challenges for climbing up and down the hundreds of stairs up to the Piazza Pricipale. Quieter than the other towns, I even had a local show me some serious Italian hospitality, sharing a meal in his home with me and taking me on a dream hike into MONTE PIANCA / PIANCA MOUNTAIN. The QU-EEN from one year ago who was sending those intentions out into Universe would be extremely proud of me in Cinque Terre. I spent many hours having to speak ONLY ITALIAN! Let me be clear, it’s not a fluent or studied Italian I spoke. It’s a self taught, let’s make this work so that we can connect and share a bit about ourselves in the present moment. And I’m damn proud!! È SONO MOLTO ORGOGLIOSA. Winter provides a completely different charm in these parts, in Cinque Terre. Tourists still come through here (noses in their guidebooks with selfie sticks in tow), but you can always find a quiet moment somewhere in any of the villages, or even better while on the trails. Sunsets to fill my heart, hikes to challenge my body and some of the best local food to satisfy and scintillate… I was hooked. I was inspired. I let the COASTAL WINDS / VENTI COSTIERI take me even further North, to Genova.
Genova, a surly city under moody winter skies and rain, this port city had a character all its own. And I’ll be damned that I have not one photo as a memento of the best local and fresh focaccia bread that I ever consumed. CALDO E FRESCO DAL FORNO / HOT & FRESH FROM THE OVEN, crispy edges and soft interior, and most importantly, purchased from a place the locals trusted for quality. I walked sometimes for 4-5 hours a day in this city, talking or sometimes just listening to someone that had more to tell than me. And I was happy to listen to these stories, life’s stories. And when I was alone, I was observing people. Observing how they moved, how they gestured, how they sounded, how they smoked their cigarettes, drank their CAFFÈ, and walked their pooches. I even observed how the little ones played outdoors talking with each other, inventing games with such ease, so much imagination at play. I ease-dropped to tune my ear to the language, grateful for those moments which remind me that life is just that… Life is our Imagination at Play. Genova is a great city in which to walk endlessly, to observe endlessly. Finally, in EMILIA-ROMAGNA I set eyes on my final city of the two week trip: Colorful Modena.
In Modena, I experienced the kindness and hospitality of a Southern Italian transplanted to the North. I didn’t take hardly any pictures here, because I wanted to live my final day Italy with the purest intentions. I wanted to leave with an imprint of the entire VIAGGIO, the collective blessing. I feel that it can be difficult to transmit moments in time, or the mood I experienced in a city/town/or village, but I think it’s most difficult to transmit the character I took on depending where I was and who my audience was. But for me, Italia was a tour of distinct regions, each rich with history and culture demonstrated from the food to the mood. In the local dishes, desserts and wines, the carefully chosen ingredients painted the clearest picture of the region on a plate and subsequently on the palette.
No two cities were the same, nor two towns. No two ITALIANS I conversed with were “the same” either, except in their pride for their homeland, now collectively called ITALIA, but not so long ago just feuding or tolerating, neighboring kingdoms.
. . . kingdoms who would have happily remained separate nations, smaller states with clear and separate borders who could self-govern. Ask someone in Roma if they consider themself Italian, and they might say yes. Ask a Roman if they consider themselves ROMAN, and they will boast of being Roman true and true. Regional pride or allegiance is much stronger with deeper roots than a national one. Don’t make the mistake of lumping them all into one category, “Those Italians”, or you won’t get very far at all. Che cazzo!
GRAZIE ITALIA FOR ALLOWING MY IMAGINATION TO RUN WILD AND TAKE ME TO ALL THE PLACES I DREAMED, COMPLETELY SUPPORTED BY THE UNIVERSE, COMPLETELY SUPPORTED BY THE LOCALS WHO CROSSED PATHS WITH ME, AND GRAZIE MILLE PER QUELLO ROMANO THAT I DELIBERATELY KEEP CROSSING PATHS WITH. TUTTO MIO AMORE!!