When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie

When the moon hits your eye
Like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.
When the world seems to shine
Like you’ve had too much wine, that’s amore.

– Dean Martin, That’s Amore

 

Within my first few moments of Italy,  it was love at first sight. We were coming from the French Riviera, driving through Liguria towards Toscana. That first memory? Even if it weren’t for L’Autostrada dei Fiori, with all its tunnels and greenhouses and coastal view of il Mare Ligure (Ligurian Sea), I’d still know the moment I crossed over to Italia. It was like crossing a magical portal.

That first time, I did an overview of the usual tourist spots…Pisa, Firenze, Roma, Venezia. As we rolled through Alto Adige on the way to Austria, a part of me snuck away and stayed behind.

 

 

My second visit was much more in-depth. I began learning the Italian language. I learned to navigate the cross-country train system. I prepared dinners and desserts alongside a friend’s gastronomical father. I greeted guests at a friend’s B&B where I was mistaken as part of the family. I went an on an archeological excavation. Another part of me snuck away and stayed behind.

This time, I’m actually experiencing life as a local. I eat too much pasta, I buy too much cheese, and I’ve gotten into the habit of drinking espressos throughout the day. Staying in a little town just outside of Rome, I actually have a monthly train pass and I come home to mamma’s homecooking most nights. (I call her my Italian mother because she truly does indulge me like a daughter…another endearing Italian trait.) I go into the city and out to dinners with friends as though I’m not the new girl in town. Just a few weeks in, I’m already a little too comfortable here. I often joke that it’s easy to keep me happy: Just feed me! Needless to say, every taste of Italy has left me happily sated thus far.

It was approximately 2.5 years between my first and second visits here (I had an affair with Spain before concluding my heart lay with Italy). It was just under 8 months between my second and third visits here. At this rate, I may as well avoid the hassle of packing a suitcase and just stay. I can’t deny that the thought has crossed my mind before. In fact, the last day of my previous trip here, I woke up with a singular thought: “It’s time to move.”

I’m not one to make brash decisions, and I obviously know that actually living here is vastly different from vacationing here. With a month in and another to go, however, I’m growing increasingly convinced. What can I say? That’s amore.