My Sounds of Italy

Sarah Stock
Carroll University

Special Program Travel Writing with Prof. James Gannon
Summer 2017 @ ISI Florence


You take for granted the convenience of knowing the national language – how easy it is to order dinner and talk to the waitress. Never before coming to Florence had I considered the ability to start a conversation with a stranger such a privilege. Never before now has my homeland felt so foreign.

Now, as I fight the urge to say ‘grazie’, I realize how much I miss the voyeuristic pleasure of being an insider on the outside of Italian culture. It’s the juxtaposition of walking with your head down, staring at the cobblestones, but holding your breath because you can feel the Duomo looming above and you’re still caught in awe by the beauty of its design. It’s the experience of overhearing a conversation and picking out familiar words, but being ignorant enough to find yourself lulled by the musicality of the staccato syllables. It’s Firenze and I miss it already.