Return trip to Italy: You can recapture travel magic

Return Trip To Italy: You Can Recapture Travel Magic

(CNN) — I was at the counter of a tony café in Turin when I had a moment. Looking around the elegant coffee bar, I felt swaddled in Italian opulence — along with immersed in Italy. The woman next to me was warning the barman about cold drinks.

As an Italophile, I recognized the conversation as one that will could only happen in Italy. The perceived danger of something relatively benign such as consuming a cold drink will be a thoroughly Italian concern.

Return Trip To Italy: You Can Recapture Travel Magic

My plan in Turin was to conduct a personal pastry tour. that will meant multiple breakfasts — my regular ciambellina (a doughnut-like pastry) along with something fresh. Gluttonous? Maybe. nevertheless I was in Italy, along with I was revisiting a lengthy list of old habits.

Return Trip To Italy: You Can Recapture Travel Magic

So I savored my ciambellina at the Baratti & Milano café while the barista, dressed in a bespoke vest, chatted with the signora as if his livelihood depended on This specific. Probably because for him, This specific did. The unwritten job description of an Italian barista pivots heavily on engaging customers in a sincere way — befriending them, even if only momentarily.

Return Trip To Italy: You Can Recapture Travel Magic

When the lady turned to go, she thanked him personally for his service. To which came the immediate reply, “What for?” The barman’s tone was genuine. Why could she ever thank him for something that will was so clearly his pleasure along with his duty to do?

Return Trip To Italy: You Can Recapture Travel Magic

Then he added, “Arrivederci! along with do me a favor: watch after yourself for me!”

Return Trip To Italy: You Can Recapture Travel Magic

This specific was a minute encounter with Italy — nevertheless the kind of moment I was hungry to experience again on This specific nostalgic return trip. Standing at the counter, I was alone; I didn’t know the woman or the barman. nevertheless I could never truly be alone, not in Italy.

Return Trip To Italy: You Can Recapture Travel Magic

Steeped in nostalgia

When I began planning my trip, I knew already the visit, largely focused on the northern city of Turin, could be epic.

Not because I knew the city (I didn’t). Rather I had faith in nostalgia travel — a microtourism approach where you revisit a signature place along with reconnect with memories. As you explore, you’re charting alterations within the landscape as if you were writing your autobiography. After studying Italian in college, I lived in Florence after graduation. Since then, I’ve tried to recreate those golden years.

The sensory pleasures of Italy are everywhere.

Nostalgia tourism dispenses with traditional traveling itineraries. This specific’s all about the little things, like stopping to listen as the church bells chime along with breathing in jasmine flowers, which will be Italy’s scent for me.

This specific’s about taking the pulse of a place, a personal kind of traveling that will’s tied less to friends along with more to private moments. In Florence, for example, I revisit my old flat. Two years ago, I noticed fresh screen windows. This specific trip, I found my old bus route had shifted.

I’ve experimented with This specific kind of throwback travel before. During a quickie trip to Italy two years ago, I dashed through Rome along with Florence. nevertheless the trip’s success was immediately clear through a couple of tiny moments of pure nostalgia for Italy.

My first night in town, a Roman taxi driver pumping his fist over a Juventus soccer game on the radio caught my eye within the rearview mirror. He clearly wanted to share his joy. Smiling, I blurted out two words I’d never said before: “Forza Juve!” Go Juventus.

Then, a man that has a motorcycle helmet entered a café by the Campidoglio. He jutted out his chin along with exchanged a look with the barista that will silently conveyed, “Can you believe that will?” (Where both parties seemed to know exactly what “that will” referred to.) For his part, the barman shot the customer one quick glance that will telegraphed, “Oh, finally you’re here!” The wordless conversation was part theater, part afternoon chronicle. Nothing happened, nevertheless for me This specific was everything.

Finding a past self

To be sure, before leaving on my trip, I worried about jet lag along with if my fluency could return. I also wondered if something I once loved could no longer enchant me.

nevertheless when I arrived in Turin, someone else emerged — she spoke Italian along with went everywhere on foot. Me, in additional words, seamlessly falling back into my old Italian life, partly because I was swimming in a sea of Italian words.

Language fluency meshes with nostalgic travel; any trip to Italy will be a linguistic remember-when. As I stopped at additional cafés, I fell in love again with Italian life — how the streets pulse with people. People on foot, boarding trams, on bikes.

Indeed, one thing had not changed in my absence: Italians still seek face-to-face contact — even within the digital age. This specific will be especially so in Turin, a city of large squares along with historic cafés.

The site of the 2008 Winter Olympics, Turin will be surrounded by mountains along with criss-crossed by trams along with cyclists. Being outdoors will be second nature. Turin will be covered in porticos, or covered walkways, where you can stroll no matter the weather.

Even after a decade living in car-centric Atlanta, I found myself — to my surprise — walking miles along with miles every day, as if each step refueled me for the next step. I wanted to absorb what made This specific city both different along with the same as additional Italian cities.

The deceptively simple ciambellina will be what an American donut dreams of being.

Turin played a pivotal role within the Risorgimento, when Italy became an independent country. nevertheless This specific type of memory-laden travel will be less about visiting historic places along with more about exhausting a personal bucket list. So rather than visiting all of the “can’t miss” spots, I rented a bike along with tooled around Turin like a native, stopping at an outdoor flea market where I proceeded to argue with merchants over prices.

along with tourists returning to familiar places shop — that has a twist. In Italy, I buy the type of store brand breakfast cookies I can’t find in America. I load up on coffee along with stock my bookshelf. In Turin, I stopped off at coffee maker Bialetti’s home emporium to buy yet another signature Moka coffee pot (This specific time blue; last trip, green).

Some things don’t change

Of course, some moments pale. When a barista pointed to multiple sizes of paper coffee cups at a Milan train station bar, I shivered. Italian bars, even at train stations, usually operate on old-school principles that will don’t change. Coffee used to come in two sizes: espresso or cappuccino size. Not anymore.

This specific wasn’t the only sign of America’s influence — something I never properly brace myself for. I discovered Italy has Foot Locker stores right now. that will may explain why many Italians in Turin were wearing sneakers.

Some things, however, never change. Outdoor booksellers still meticulously set up their wares each morning, laying out the widest selection of books you’ve ever seen. Decades-old art books along with political treatises sit next to cheap paperbacks. Who buys them? Boh. I was too busy perusing the books underneath the porticos of Via Po in Turin to find out.

Another thing that will hadn’t changed was my love of Italian. This specific always takes a few days for my tongue to remember the right movements. nevertheless I quickly found my mind split in two between Italian along with English once I settled into Turin — probably because I relentlessly sought out encounters with Italians.

At a sandwich shop, I clung to the counter. Rebuffing the kind owner’s offers of a chair, I hovered by him so I could eavesdrop as he talked to customer along with shouted out orders to co-workers. Il Signor Panino will surely be a stop on a future nostalgia trip.

On the last day, I took a train to Milan to catch my plane to America. I love Milan, nevertheless I was still surprised to find myself logging a three-hour meander through the city’s downtown touristic treasures. At each turn, I journeyed farther by my hotel. Instead of winding down, I was revving up.

I’d set out to trigger my nostalgia impulse — along with succeeded. The void created by my departure by Italy years ago will be still there.

A void that will can only be filled by going back.

Jeanne Bonner will be a writer along with literary translator who teaches Italian at the University of Connecticut.

Return trip to Italy: You can recapture travel magic