An espresso a day keeps the doctor away. After only two weeks in Sorrento I’ve wondered how I’ve lived my life with out espresso. And without the beautiful beach that skirts the Marina Grande in Sorrento. Before traveling to Sorrento I thought the largest obstacle would be jetlag, however, after two weeks here my biggest dilemma has been whether to have a croissant with chocolate or peach jam filling. My instructor Dominico has been amazing at helping me learn the complex grammer of Italian II. The best part of my trip has been slowly gaining the ability to communicate past “come stai” with the locals. Although they speak some English words, the surprise that comes over them when an obviously American student begins conversing in their native tongue of Italian is a wonderful experience to be a part of.
Lucky for me, Sorrento is a prime travel location and my host family’s home is literally five minutes from the treno stazione. Thus far, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Pompeii to see the overwhelming beauty that lies in the rubble. What was most shocking was seeing the house of Cascus, a character that I knew well from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The still entact, human casts at Pompeii were most eerie, especially the cast of the pregnant woman shielding her body from the fiery lava from the great Mt. Vesuvius. Sorrento is only an hour to Naples on the Circumvesuviana train, so I’ve visited often. One weekend I spent a day at the Cimetero delle Fontanelle, an ancient cave cemetery of skulls and bones that houses the remains of over 50,000 nameless people. The majority of the population of the cemetery was those impoverished people who died during the plague of 1656 or the cholera outbreaks. During these times the Cimetero delle Fontanelle served as an emergency overflow location to place the overwhelming number of bodies during these disasters. Although peculiar, it was incredible to see the love and devotion people had given the anonymous dead; flowers, money, offerings, notes, and jewelry to help them be released from purgatory. Tomorrow we will trek to Roma, ciao!
Natalie – University of Florida