“You cannot bottle up the light gleaming through a basilica window and release it to a classroom.” My mom said to her students as she was introducing our upcoming educational tour in Italy.

We sadly lost my mom to cancer in October of 2015. As the news broke, memories from former students came pouring in.

This quote was one of them, from Sarah, who captured this exquisite photo. My mother was a woman who loved travel, understood the value in it, and lived to share it with her students.

I will be eternally grateful that she instilled that passion in me.

She was right. It is indeed impossible to bottle up the light that majestically shines in rays through Michelangelo’s dome in St. Peters Basilica, and onto Bernini’s baldachin directly over the tomb of Saint Peter himself. The feeling is indescribable.

The light, the sound echoing through the church, and an overwhelming sense of power will be forever imprinted on your memory after experiencing just a few moments inside.

My mom, friends and I, once visited the Ferragamo museum in Florence, happy enough to see the impressive shoe collection, only to stumble into a medieval well where Dante is said to have watched for Beatrice coming and going in her daily routine.

On our last trip, my husband and I visited the Duomo in Milan, and happened upon a concert from a boys’ choir so chillingly beautiful that we both had goosebumps.

When it was finished, we found an entrance to go below the Cathedral which revealed the ruins of an early Christian baptismal font and ancient church dating to before the 4th century.

This is Italy. The entire country is full of beauty and passion, history and tradition, and it is a joy to discover with surprises around every corner.

My mother’s point and my own is that travel enriches us. The more we allow ourselves to become a part of a place, the more it becomes a part of us. Speak with the people, get lost in the towns, ask questions, swim anywhere there is a sea, walk anywhere there is a path, enter every church that catches your eye, and the culture will reveal itself to you.

You will see the world through eyes that have beheld the works of Michelangelo, hear through ears still ringing with the sound of dueling orchestras and the bells of San Marco, and walk on feet that have followed steps of the Apostle Paul, of Julius Caesar, of Dante Alighieri. After that, how could anyone ever be the same?

by Lindsay Sinko, Passion for Italy America Office.

Photo by Sarah Moses- Gleaming Light,