To tell you about my summer of 2016, I need to give you context and go back by a few months first, if you will. It all started in early June, when, thanks to a special friend, I discovered an enchanted, wild location, a section of beach that won a special spot in my heart in an instant… So much so that it was inspiring for some of my articles, and then, for my summer. How? By making me choose Italy as a destination for my summer holidays. Guys, I had not spent my two weeks of summer holidays in my own country since I was 17 years old! And on top of that, I spent them alone with my mother, and my sisters — it was hard at times, let’s be honest! But let’s follow the unfolding of events.
My first stop was Capalbio, a small town near Grosseto, Tuscany. I had never been there, and thanks to my beloved Google, that promised wonderful beaches and small ancient towns, I booked my stay. And I was very happy I did, since my expectations were not too high, actually, I did not expect those levels of beauty. I spent four days in complete quiet, in a lush green location, enjoying peace and silence like nowhere else before, and enjoying beaches with crystal clear waters on a par with Ibiza.
After my Tuscan experience, I felt the need to visit and experience more of my country, so I drove further south, towards my hometown, Naples. What can I say about these places? They were my home throughout my childhood and teenage years, and every time I go back they make me emotional: I end up going back to the usual breakfast place for coffee and croissant, to the usual pizza place, walking along my usual seafront walk in Via Caracciolo, to hanging out with my sisters before going to sleep, like we used to. I always manage to forget about everything with them, work-related stress, especially. After a few days in Naples, I went even further south: my discovery of southern Italy was just half done, so where was I off to? To Calabria, a beloved regions of all those who want clear seas and deserted beaches — which is exactly what I wanted, too. Wild beaches in the middle of nowhere, and the sea all to myself. In Casignana, I found my family waiting for me again. Time seems to have stopped at the 1950s there, the houses are small, some of them look like ruins, the shops are small and the plants and trees look so southern, almost tropical. People are open and welcoming to new people in their home, where locally sourced food is a reality and not just advertising to find customers: I think I never had fruit as good as in Casignana! I must have eaten about 10kgs of melons, peaches and watermelons!
On top of all this, I was also able to go on a cultural tour. Just a few minutes away from my house were the remains of an old Roman villa from 1st century C.E. This site is one of the main archeological ones in Calabria, a fact that is not hard to believe, considering the perfectly conserved mosaics of the former thermal baths: it was easy to stop for a second, and imagine the lives of Roman noble people.
This was just the summer I had envisioned: no excesses this time, and living the simplest life possible, full of sunshine and relaxation, during which my main worry was what swimming trunks I should wear for the day.
I relaxed so much, I rediscovered my family — not that I needed to, really! — and I realized how much I actually miss them, since they live in Naples and I live in Milan. I came to two conclusions during these summer holidays of 2016: I want to see more of Italy in my future, and I also want to see more of my family.