How my love for Italy began

Looking over the Tevere and Rome from the Castel dell'Angelo
Photograph made by me
Italy is the only country I ever seriously considered emigrating to. I did not do it, for several good reasons, but that has not stopped me from loving it even more.

The first time I came to Italy it was March 2008. I was one of the teachers that accompanied our fourth graders (15-16 y.o) on their trip to Rome. I never visited Italy before, and I was very curious. The moment the bus crossed the Italian border, something happened. When we drove across the Apennines it felt familiar, somehow I recognized something, deep in my heart.
And when the bus entered Rome I knew I was home. This feeling never left me, never do I feel so at home as I do in Rome. I deeply, passionately love that city. I have been there seven times in total now, and I hope to go there again next Summer.

And when I came home from that first trip, this love stretched to all other things that are Italian. I liked Italian cuisine before, but now I knew how amazing it could taste, so I cooked more and more Italian dishes and I bought Italian cookbooks. I began to read about Italian history, culture, watched Italian movies and television-series and listened to Italian music. I even began to study Italian, because for me it is the most beautiful language in the world. I am not very good at it (I suck at grammar), but I really enjoy puzzling with it.

I often say that half of my heart belongs to Rome, but I think I can safely say the other half belongs to the rest of Italy.