Easter is a beautiful holiday, I’m sure each of us have memories from this special day. Memories from Easter bunnies and baskets to sweet treats and good eats, but, I’m sure that most of the special memories we have during holidays are thanks to those we were with. Family is what makes easter such a treasured day. This Easter was quite different for me; there weren’t even any Easter baskets or jellybeans. But, Easter was a special day, because I got to spend it with my dear family in Northern Italy. This year just so happened to be on the weekend two weeks before finals, meaning the week following my Easter getaway was jam packed with projects, papers, various presentations. That, however, did not stop me. I left for Gallarate on the morning of Good Friday and returned to Florence on Tuesday morning just in time for my 10:00am class. The four days I spent with my family were days smothered in love and tradition, and I cherished every moment I was given.
Rather than giving a low down of my itinerary, I am going to share with you a few of my favorite, most treasured moments from my final travel weekend with my family. One thing I really enjoy about the Italian culture, as I have mentioned before, is their emphasis on the importance of a family meal. How special it is to make and enjoy a meal together, especially around the holidays. I shared my secret bread recipe with them and made both rolls and monkey bread for my family with the help of Umberto. It was a special American treat that they certainly enjoyed! Another highlight was attending mass on Good Friday and Easter with my family. The priest at the Easter mass spoke about the importance of peace and love, specifically that which can be seen through the eyes of a child. It was such a lovely talk.
My family planned three different hikes that we did together. One was a gorgeous hike to beautiful white marble waterfalls and scenic views. After the waterfall hike I took with my family on Easter Saturday we stopped by a beautiful indoor and outdoor thermal spring spa. It was relaxing, detoxing, and revitalizing! It was much cleaner than the springs in Saturnia since it was a spa, but it was absolutely refreshing!
On Easter, we took a little trip to Switzerland to see and hike around incredible ancient rock formations. Unfortunately, during our hike in Switzerland sweet little Umberto, my dear cousin, slipped and fell, breaking his arm when we were playing tag in the forest. He was quite excited about breaking his arm and getting a cast, so I did not feel too bad!
All of the hikes were especially fun, but one of the things that I cherish most about hiking with my family was the fact that every one participated, from 11 year old Umberto to 78 year old Caesare. Being together in my favorite place (nature) was something I will cherish forever. And, getting to participate in that tradition of Pasquetta, or Easter Monday, was special too. It is a cultural tradition for Italians to go outside and hike or embark on a little pilgrimage on the Monday following Easter. And, we did just that. The Pilgrimage to San Pietro al Monte Pedale was so gorgeous we even picnicked during our hike! Afterwards, we stopped by Lake Como afterwards and my dad (through the magic of credit cards) treated all of us to pizza. It is those moments I cherish most, those moments all around the dinner table, where everything seems simply perfect since we are all together, united with love.
What was so special about this trip was the closeness I felt with my family. On my first two visits with my family, the foundation of our relationship was built but on this trip, my third and final visit with them, our relationship gained depth. We spoke about philosophy (in Italian), live, meaning, and God. I shared my dreams, hopes and aspirations with them and they did the same with me. My family in Italy has stolen apart of my heart and I cannot wait to unite with them again sometime soon. Until then, I will continue to treasure the moments I have already had with them and I will open my heart up for whatever God has in store for me for the next chapter of my life. Stay true, live justly, and always travel on. Peace and Love.