villa at the heart of wine country. Taking cues from the spontaneous nature of the universe, I seized on this little piece of good fortune and immediately made plans to catch a ride south instead. A short overnight drive and a few hitchhikes later, I was standing under the golden Tuscan sun amidst gentle rolling waves of battalion like vineyards, softly swaying wheat fields and the towering sentries of deep green cypress trees. Strolling down narrow cobblestone streets in the heart of Siena, something deep and instinctual gripped me from me moment I arrived. This place speaks to me on some primal level - the lost echoes of generations past and a heritage firmly rooted in its history. Every scent of fresh local bread, sip of steaming hot espresso, song of native tongue and sultry look in dark Mediterranean eyes makes my heart cry out some familiar call – "home, home, home." I can’t describe it or explain why, I just feel it in my bones at the deepest part of my soul. This is where half my blood comes from, spiced with the flavor of a hundred ancestors dating back to Rome. Some silent melody seduces me the moment I return to these shores. Everything feels so familiar and comfortable, and never leaves me wanting more. All that I need can be found right here - stunning mountains, deep blue oceans, ancient cities and ambling fields. It all resonates on some unstruck chord, something lost deep inside since we left this old world
in search of another to call our new home - opportunity, prosperity and the chance to be on our own. A life started fresh in the boroughs of New York, knowing toil and hardships, and the rewards of hard work. Now our family has grown, spread their seeds to the wind. Children and relatives scattered about this great country from end to each end, but we never lost that feeling, that innate sense of who we are - true Italians at heart no matter the distance how far. So I’ve returned home to the place of my birth with fresh eyes and new soul shedding my skin of this Earth. Around the world and back again - from the far east to the west - a year in the making, facing trials, tribulations and tests. To find me standing here under the amber glow of the setting sun, burning like the fire inside of me that gave me grounds to run. Towards the horizon and beyond leading me farther from the norm of a life left stagnant, unquestioned and unformed. A child in the world, I left naive and ignorant. A man stands before me, his blood pulsing with passion spent. In the heart of his homeland wandering aimless and free. Living his life fully and with purpose, the way it was meant to be.
There's something immediately attractive and enticing about Italy. I’ve been here many times before, traveling with friends and family, studying abroad in the foothills of the Italian Alps and bumming around the country with just a backpack and a train ticket for a few weeks. This journey has had a sense of the unexplored, discovering the unknown in places I’d never go. Because of that, I almost wrote it off this time around in favor of spending more days in the French countryside or the coasts of Spain. Luck and fate had different plans though. Just two days before leaving Switzerland to continue on my voyage west I learned that my favorite aunt and uncle from New York were flying to Tuscany on holiday, and planning to stay in a quiet little