There are few things more breathtaking than seeing a beautiful place for the first time. The wonder at it all, and the amazement. I remember when I first stumbled, blinking into the Italian sunshine, I felt almost as if my life was starting anew. Unfortunately you only get to be an Italy virgin once. But something that is almost as good as seeing everything for the first time: getting to watch someone else’s first Italy experiences. We hosted a visitor recently. My dear companion’s sister was here for a few days, and she had never been before.
It is tremendously satisfying to watch someone experiencing this magical place. Of course it’s tiring and challenging too- it’s hard to play the host when you’re not on vacation and still have to do work or laundry, make important phone calls and live your regular life. But it’s so worth it. Even things as simple as drinking a cappuccino are new and full of excitement. Wandering up the steep hills of the Boboli Gardens reveals new views around every corner and it encourages me to wander down paths I haven’t been in ages and even forget are there:
When you’re new to Florence the Ponte Vecchio is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, rather than a place you never go because you can’t actually walk across the bridge with any semblance of speed. The views of the Arno are fresh and the Uffizi seems like a never-ending treasure chest revealing masterpieces one by one.
I love hosting Italy-virgins (or Italy second/third timers too). Their awe and wonder is contagious and helps me see the city anew. So come on over, I’ll show you around.