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Italy Roundtable: The Rush of the Strange and Unfamiliar

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This month’s Italy Roundtable topic “foreign” brought in a host of interesting topics from the group – all thoughtful, reflective and informative. Be sure to check them all out at the links below! While I am a foreigner living in Italy, there’s another aspect of the word “foreign” that has been rattling around in the back of my mind this week. The secondary meaning of the word is listed as “strange and unfamiliar.” Dictionary example: “I suppose this all feels pretty foreign to you.” Now that sounds about right! It got me thinking. When was the last time you experienced something foreign? There’s a thrill that comes from the strange and unfamiliar. It means stepping out of your comfort zone, whatever the experience might be.

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I don’t know about you, but I thrive in the strange and unfamiliar. Not that I go in search of it. I’m certainly not an adventure seeking sort of person. Perhaps more of the sort that enjoys finding the adventure in everyday life. Whatever it is, I find that I am the happiest when I have quite literally no idea what I’m doing. It probably started with when I fell in love with studying ancient Greek in college. That was remarkable. Then there was that time I was a data analyst for Fannie Mae. (Seriously.) Or when I decided to study art history in graduate school and called up my mom to ask, “Hey, Mom, so I have to include a research paper with my application. What’s a research paper?” Then there was the time 10 years ago when I moved to Italy without speaking any Italian. Or when I started freelance writing and editing. The land of “strange and unfamiliar” is my home.

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So why the wisteria? Well it’s pretty. Besides that, it represents a moment I had recently that reminded me how important those strange and the unfamiliar moments are in our lives. Sure a trip to a new country around the world is exciting, but how can you get out of your comfort zone right now, right where you’re at? When I went to Positano earlier this month to see the wisteria, I decided to make some video clips so I could start learning how to use iMovie. It may have taken me a few weeks to finish that video, but when I uploaded it to YouTube yesterday, I had a rush. There it was. Something strange and unfamiliar. I have quite literally no idea how to make movies, and yet there I go putting one out to the world to see. It’s nothing special. I have a lot to learn. But what is special is that incredible experience of doing something strange and unfamiliar!

Go out and try something foreign this week – a new restaurant, a new drink at your local coffee shop, a new way to drive to work, a new genre that you usually don’t read, a new craft, a new recipe, a different type of creative endeavor. Don’t worry if it doesn’t work out. Let me know how it felt to experience something foreign!

 

Italy Blogging Roundtable

Italy Roundtable
This blog post is part of a series called The Italy Blogging Roundtable. Every month our group of Italy based writers takes on a new theme, and you can read the contributions for this month’s topic – Foreign – at the links below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please share the stores if you’ve enjoyed them!

ArtTravRefugees in Tuscany: New Book Questions Preconceptions

At Home in TuscanyForeigners in Tuscany

Italy ExplainedThe 5 Letters of the Alphabet Banned by Mussolini

Girl in Florence50 Shades of “Foreign” in Florence, Italy

ItalofileFrom Foreign Language to Lingua Franca: Italian Immersion Programs in Italy

 

Amalfi Coast Travel Aerial Photo Atrani

5 Incredible Aerial Videos of the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast Travel Aerial Photo Atrani

It’s those quiet winter months on the Amalfi Coast when everyone is dreaming of the sweet scents of spring and those lazy, hazy days of summer days to come. This is the time of year when comments start pouring in on Instagram and here on Ciao Amalfi from people around the world dreaming about upcoming vacations to the Amalfi Coast. So since we’re all in the mood for a bit of travel dreaming, I’ve put together a collection of the most stunning and inspiring aerial videos I’ve seen of the Amalfi Coast. Set them full screen, sit back and get ready to dream!

 

Aerial Footage of Sorrento, Capri & Positano 

Be prepared to be swept away by this incredible aerial video that starts in Sorrento, continues to Capri and then goes along the Amalfi Coast to Positano. The view on Capri as the video rises over Monte Solaro is breathtaking! The peak of Monte Solaro is the highest point on the island of Capri and visiting there one of my favorite things to do on the island. You can easily reach the top from Anacapri thanks to a super fun chairlift. (Read about it here.) I’ve never seen anything that comes so close to capturing that incredible vista or the feeling of standing up there, peering over the edge with the sea breeze blowing in your face.

 

Aerial Drone of Positano by Alfonso Longobardi

With sweeping views over Positano and the ever so catchy “Volare” by Dean Martin to accompany it, this is a video I could watch over and over again. It’s no secret, I have. However, if someone who knows Positano even better than me could let me know which hotel is having that wedding in the video I would love it. (Is it L’Ancora?) I shared this video last week on the Ciao Amalfi Facebook page and got such a great response that it inspired this blog post!

 

Amalfi Coast Boat Rental Highlights from Exclusive Cruises 

My good friends over at Exclusive Cruises made this fabulous video that captures how much fun it is to rent a boat on the Amalfi Coast. I particularly love the scene that pans up the Duomo of Amalfi. And, yes, you simply must experience the Amalfi Coast from the sea on your next visit. Exclusive Cruises can show you how!

 

Amalfi Coast Aerial Video from Salerno to Amalfi

I shared this aerial video from Salerno to Amalfi a couple of years ago, but it’s too good not to share again. It covers Atrani and Amalfi especially well. So combined with the other videos in this blog post you can take an aerial tour from Salerno along the Amalfi Coast to Sorrento and even Capri!

 

Drive & Drone Along the Amalfi Coast

This beautiful video was created by Citroën, so naturally it features the Amalfi Coast drive as well as incredible drone footage. Love the aerial shot of the Marina di Praia beach in Praiano!

Christmas Eve Fireworks in Amalfi

If you’ve spent time exploring the little side streets and alleys in Amalfi, you’ll have quickly learned that there are a lot of stairs to get pretty much anywhere. A lot. Late on Christmas Eve we worked off the big dinner by climbing about 200 steps to meet some good friends for a drink while waiting for midnight. What were we waiting for? No, not the new year!

After the late mass, the beautiful bronze doors of Amalfi’s Duomo are opened and a procession leads out to the top of the staircase. At midnight many churches and families across Italy celebrate the birth of Jesus by placing the bambino in the nativity scene. In Amalfi, a symbolic star is lit with sparkling fireworks at midnight and a fireworks display is set off over the Piazza Duomo in the center of Amalfi. This is the moment Christmas truly begins!

The Christmas Eve fireworks are just a tiny sample compared to what the city does for New Year’s Eve. All the stops are pulled for the most impressive fireworks display of the year on the Amalfi Coast. Wishing you all a very happy New Year’s Eve and peaceful 2013!