A love of Ancient History took me to Italy for the first time. My love of Roman history was kindled in my first years of high school and developed in later years. Particularly in my last two years of high school courtesy of my supportive teacher and also the Rome series books written by Colleen McCullough. (Colleen McCullough was an Australian author, probably most well-known for writing the Thorn Birds, she died in January 2015). Although there were elements of fiction within these novels, they were based on historical fact. My love for Roman history continued into my degree as I sought out subjects that I could take to learn more about this period. Once again I was fortunate to have two supportive lecturers. Even more exciting was the fact that I got to meet Colleen McCullough at the university’s campus. She gave a talk at the Museum of Ancient Cultures at Macquarie University. She had a working relationship with the university whilst writing her books. She was even awarded a Doctor of Letters degree as a result of this extensive research in 1993. I even started studying Italian at university. I regret not doing more at this stage.
Then I got the opportunity to go to the actual country for the first time. It was the late 1990s and while we took in major tourist sites on the tour that we did, there were other times when we tried to get away from the tourist track. Instead of taking in the Blue Grotto off Capri, I persuaded my dad to come with me to the top of the island to see Emperor Tiberius’ villa.
Back to Australia I went knowing that I did want to explore even more of Italy. It was on my second trip to Italy that I met my husband. So my Italy story does have a two tiered love element to it. My love for history and my love for my Britalian (he’s English and Italian).
Meeting him led me to move there permanently and learn more about an area called the Tuscia. It also necessitated more than rudimentary Italian.
Plus I learnt more about the local oldies, the Etruscans, by going to some of the local museums. But historic items aren’t just stored in museums. Where else but Italy do you get pieces of history dotted by a council car park!
Then came the bambini (who are now actually ragazzi).
We may no longer live there (I did live there for 7.5 years), but I still have a love for Italy, the language, its people and culture.
I’m adamant that I don’t lose my Italian (and perhaps even add some more vocab and grammar knowledge). Nor do I wish for the children to lose theirs. Although I don’t think they will. There were educated in the Italian school system for 6 years. They have both taken their GCSE in Italian here in the UK. My daughter took hers last year and did really well, my son just took his recently along with all his other GCSEs… My son even announced recently that he wants to speak more Italian at home. Time will tell whether he keeps this intention!
What do you love about Italy?