Una delle cose più belle di scrivere un blog è che mi capita di incontrare e interagire con tante persone interessanti. Ogni giorno la mia vita è toccata dai vostri racconti di viaggi in Italia, così come dalle vostre avventure dell’apprendimento della lingua. D’altro canto ho anche la possibilità d incontrare persone che vivono in Italia, che studiano l’Inglese e che mi aiuta a farmi una idea migliore sulla vita quotidiana in Italia.
One of the nicest things about writing a blog is that I get to meet and interact with a lot of interesting people. Every day my life is touched by your stories of traveling in Italy as well as your adventures in learning the language. On the flip side I also get to meet folks who live in Italy and who are learning English, who give me so much insight into daily life Italy.
Recentemente ho avuto il piacere di conoscere meglio Stacy di Anna. Lei insegue il mio blog da diversi anni ma ci siamo contattate personalmente solo lo scorso marzo. Stacy scrive il blog Prayers and Piazzas. Stacy è appena tornata da un viaggio improvvisato a Firenze dove ha incontrato Dianne Hales per partecipare ad una gita a piedi per scoprire più sulla Gioconda. Ero così felice per Stacy e entusiasta del fatto che lei fosse in grado di realizzare il suo sogno nell’Italia. Ed eccola a raccontarci un po’ del suo viaggio e per ricordarci che ogni viaggio, anche un viaggio di apprendimento di una lingua, comincia con un solo passo!
Recently I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Stacy di Anna better. She has been reading my blog for several years now, and we just connected personally last March. Stacy writes the blog Prayers and Piazzas. Stacy just got back from an impromptu trip to Firenze to meet up with Dianne Hales and her Mona Lisa Discovered Walking Tour. I was so happy for Stacy and thrilled that she was able to realize this Italian Dream! Here she is to tell us a bit about her recent trip and to remind us that every journey, even the journey to learn the Italian language begins with a single step!
Ecco il post di Stacy:
A guest post written con affetto for Diario di una Studentessa Matta
Recently something wonderful and unexpected happened to me, and I ended up in Florence. Which, for a person who loves Italian and all things Italy, is a really fantastic place to find yourself.
The first stop on my list, after dropping my bags at the hotel, saying ciao to the Duomo and watching il tramonto (the sunset) from the Ponte Vecchio, was to purchase my Firenze card. This little magic ticket not only allowed entry into city’s greatest hits (think Accademia Gallery featuring Michelangelo’s David and the Uffizi Gallery with its overwhelming collection of Renaissance masterpieces), it also provided front-of-the-line privileges to all the hot spots, typically abuzz with tourists. Well worth the 72 Euro, in my opinion.
The next morning I awoke to the sounds of the bells coming from Giotto’s campanile. Armed with three years of learning Italian and having been to Florence a few times, I got an early start and walked the cobblestone streets with more confidence than ever before. Within just a few blocks, I crossed the Piazza del Duomo and reached the first stop on my list: Brunelleschi’s majestic dome and the beautiful cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore, which it tops.
I easily found the special entrance for Firenze Card holders, and qued up behind a couple of others. Moments later, the grand doors opened and I stepped inside this magnificent church, to which I have an inexplicable attachment. There to my right was the destination I ached for – the serene and peaceful interior. I took just a few steps before the path forced a sharp left into a narrow, dark stairway, insisting that I turn my back on la chiesa.
This didn’t seem right at all. I climbed a few more stairs but it didn’t take long to realize that in my burst of confidence, I had entered the wrong door. La porta through which I had passed hadn’t been the entrance to the cathedral at all. It was the starting point to climb the 463 stairs to the top of the dome.
Che cavolo (#@*!) That wasn’t at all what I had intended. I couldn’t wear myself out so early in the game. I had a big event to attend that night, and I was still jet-lagged and sleep-deprived from the long plane flight from California the day before. But, since one of the things on my Florence wish list was “climb something”, I kept going.
At times, the climb was rough, steep, claustrophobic. Early on, I wanted to jump ship when my heart started racing and I became short of breath. Occasionally I had to backtrack to allow others to descend. But despite all this, the climb was underscored with marvel, and wonder. I was awestruck to be sharing the same space as those who constructed this treasure nearly 600 years ago. I even stumbled upon a room, empty of anyone else, displaying authentic tools used by Brunelleschi and his crew during the dome’s construction.
Eventually, a patch of sunlight revealed itself above the final scala, and I emerged, a few hundred feet up, in the full splendor of the Florentine sunshine. And instantly, every single step, all that effort to get this point, was worth it.
This is how learning Italian has been for me – unintentional, difficult, wonderful. Growing up Italian-American, with an immigrant grandfather, Italian and Italy was no big deal. It was something that was always there for me but which I never intended to embrace. I didn’t plan to learn Italian, and I especially never expected to love every moment of it.
But, just a few years ago, I found myself accidentally on the path to tackling this captivating language. Quite innocently, as we were planning a family trip to Italy, my husband suggested we all learn Italian. And with this simple spark of an idea, the door to a new passion burst open and my unintentional language climb began.
Right now I’m ascending, pian piano, slowly slowly. Each new concept mastered brings me one step closer to the top. A noun here, a verb there, one step at a time. Remembering that adjective endings match the noun in quantity and gender: another few steps up. Choosing the correct past tense to describe something which happened yesterday (passato prossimo) or something that used to happen frequently in the past (imperfetto): jump up three steps at once.
With certain steps, I’m enthusiastic and confident. With missteps, my confidence wanes. There are times when I feel really stuck and my brain feels exhausted and rebellious. Those are the days when, just like I did on the dark Duomo staircase, I stop to catch my breath. I might look over the first few chapters of my Italian manuals to remind myself how far I really am. I keep in mind that I’ve only been at this for a few years, without the benefit of living immersed in Italian. I think of myself as a little toddler or preschooler, just a few years old in learning the language. Sono come una bambina – I’m like a baby. I wouldn’t be so hard on a three-year-old trying to get a grasp on communicating, and in my experience, Italians and Italian speakers wouldn’t either. Even if that toddler happens to look like a grown woman. So, in the same way that I would a child, I encourage myself to keep climbing.
One day, I hope to emerge at the top, in the fresh air, bathed in the sunshine of fluency. But even if I’m never fluent, still I’m finding joy in the journey.
I’m not sure where you are in your language climb, nor whether you began the climb accidentally or intentionally. But I do hope for you that you take every single step, no matter how difficult, with delight. I hope you revel in the beautiful, lovely challenge which is speaking a language as rich and as steeped in history as Italian.
And one day, spero vederti in cima. I hope to see you at the top.
Thank you Stacy for writing such a lovely piece for my blog! You can learn more about Stacy and how she got started learning Italian by clicking this link.
You can also read a guest post I wrote for Stacy about how I got started learning Italian: My Crazy Journey to Learn Italian by clicking this link
I would love to hear from others readers about your love of Italy and the steps you are taking to learn Italian. Don’t be shy. Leave a comment on this post in Italian or English. Let’s get to know each other better! Let me know your stories!