As Christmas and the season of giving approaches, what could be a better gift for your loved ones than Italy, The Gift of Travel?

In the beginning of his journey into Paradiso, Dante Alighieri tells his readers to pay attention, because the waters he’s travelling are yet uncharted. “L’acqua ch’io prendo gia` mai non si corse.”

Each time I go to Italy, I feel as though another little slice of Heaven has been revealed to me.

The Renaissance, Rinascimento in Italian, means rebirth.  It is no surprise to me that it began in Italy, and its spirit lives on in the places and people.

What is a surprise, however, is how many personal rinascimenti happen every day in Italy.

Beauty, history, art, food, wine, music, all combine, and when you add in the Italian people, it is a magic that permeates your soul.

Italians have such passion, humor, and joy, it is impossible to be there for long and not absorb a little of it yourself.

My first trip to Italy, I was fifteen years old.  I was glad it would be warmer than England, and that was the extent of my excitement.

Before the wheels of the plane hit the ground, I found myself smiling as I listened to the flight attendants speaking Italian.

Smiling wasn’t something I did very much at fifteen.  I was quiet, shy, had bad skin, and was deeply unhappy… until that trip to Italy.

My smile continued to spread across my face and into my soul during those two weeks.

Our first day there, I had several boys approach me asking if I was Brittany Spears.  Embarrassing now!  But, it was quite the confidence boost for my shy fifteen year old self!

Shy doesn’t last very long in Italy.

As I tried to become invisible in the back of the table at a folk music show, the dancers climbed around the others at my table and dragged me on stage.  I thought I might die.

Before I could escape, they began swinging me around and there I was dancing the Tarantella for all of Sorrento to see.  It was such fun!

Ever since that trip, Italian music makes my spirit sing.

In Florence, we went to see the Accademia, of course for the David.  His heart-shaped pupils seem to follow you everywhere. The right hand is an obvious allusion to the right hand of God, which brings to mind another Michelangelo masterpiece once you’ve seen the Sistine Chapel.

To me, the most amazing art to see there, however, is not even finished, and never will be.  Michelangelo’s “prisoners” look as I felt discovering Italy, one foot at a time stepping out into adventure, just beginning to come to life.

Amici, it’s not just me.  Italy has something for everyone.

The “Wedding Cake” monument emerging through your taxi window, Brunelleschi’s magnificent Duomo peaking out above your hotel room in Florence, the color of the Blue Grotto, all these places light up eyes and hearts every day.

No words could convey the look on your loved ones faces as they see these things for the first time.

You could give your family a million different gifts this year, but gift of travel is the most life changing, valuable gift you could give, and you just might find your very own Paradiso.

My mom has been gone for two Christmases now, and I have to thank her from the bottom of my heart for the best gift she ever gave me: the chance to see the world.

Contact Us to plan your trip.  Buon Natale!

Lindsay Sinko,
Passion for Italy Travel, USA