Many people from all corners of the world choose to make Italy their destination of choice. The great food and wine from Tuscany, the fancy shopping at the world premiere fashion region of Milan, or the art scene that is spread throughout the entire country are a few of the reasons 52.4 million people come visit the most historically powerful empire the world has ever known. I did not choose Italy; however, Italy chose me—in a sense.
I set out to learn some of the culture and history that Italy has to offer. I left my comforts of Florida and placed myself into a new dimension in Sorrento, a small town in southern Italy. I quickly learned even though the food and wine are the same as in other parts of the country, the epic scenery and the vacation feel of this tiny gem, are among the reasons why southern Italy is a great place to visit.
I have many blessings in my life. Among them, is the opportunity to study at the Sant’Anna Institute in partnership with Jacksonville University. The school is situated in the perfect location overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Looking towards the left from my dorm window, I am able to get a great view of Naples. If I look straight off into the distance, and with the clearest of days, I am able to catch a glimpse of Capri, a tiny Island off the coast of Italy’s Napoli region. It is this Island, that I was able to explore, and is one of the highlights for visitors that choose to spend time in Sorrento.
I have two major fears in life. 1.) I have a lifelong fear of the water. Ever since I can remember I have never been a fan. It might be because of the way I was introduced to water—which is to say that I was thrown in over my head as a toddler, as an attempt to force teach me how to swim—or, it could be that I have always found learning how to swim to be a daunting task. As I have always said: “I don’t swim, I drown.” 2.) A more recent fear is of people. Large crowds, of course, brings out the worst of my fear. Living with PTSD, depression ties with the condition, and the general anxiety in dealing with people all play into this fear. Traveling to Capri, I was forced to face both challenges in a very surreal way.
The day began with the meeting at the flags ritual, an easy to find location in the center of town. After coffee, and light conversation, I, along with the other students made our way down towards the pier to catch the superspeed ferry that travels at a mere 20 knots. It was here that I forced myself into uncomfortable situations. First, I would enter a boat. Though this wasn’t too much a concern since the ferry is a large size boat. Second, I found myself pushing forward through the thick crowd in order to enter the boat. This was and always is a less than pleasant experience. Nonetheless, however, I made it on the boat, and off I was to Capri.
Upon entering the Island, as a group, we immediately headed towards a private boat whose mission it is to take spectators, like myself, around the outskirts of the Island. This is when my breath was truly taken away, and all fear was forgotten about. The rock sculptures alone are a sight to see for anyone! Perhaps one of the most notable of observations is the clear blue water that surrounds all the land in this region. Though I was unable to visit the Blue Grotto this time around, it is definitely on my list for next time.
Upon returning to the Island, I ventured up Mount Solaro by chairlift. My only complaint is the thick fog which made it impossible to see the wondrous views. After that, it was time for sightseeing, shopping, and of course, a quick bite to eat. Yes, things are slightly more expensive on the Island, but the experience is one that all should enjoyed at least one time in one’s life. 4:00pm came around, and it was time for me to rejoin the rest of my group and take the ferry back to the mainland. What started out as a day of fear turned into a delightful adventure of gazing in awe…the magic of CapriUntil next time, Ciao!