Student Spotlight: Don & Jill Croce

Jill and I started taking Italian classes this past winter as preparation for our first trip to Italy in April. The beginner classes gave us a sense of comfort with the language and also stirred our excitement about our trip.
Our itinerary was set to give us as much exposure of the key cities and regions of Italy as we could manage in two weeks, so we knew we would be on the go for the entire trip. We took buses, boats, and even rented a car, so knowing key phrases before we arrived proved to be very valuable!
We flew into Venice and spent a couple of nights there. We also visited the islands of Murano and Burano, and fell in love with the no-car lifestyle of this unique city. It is an amazing place, and even though it is crowded with tourists, we know we want to go back and spend a lot more time there.
© Don Croce

© Don Croce

 From Venice, we trained to Florence, toured this beautiful city, visited the Accademia, and did a couple of really fun and delicious food tours. After totally enjoying Florence for a couple of days, we rented a car and made one or two-day stops in Monticchiello, Siena, Assisi, and Orvieto before heading down the A1 to Positano on the Amalfi Coast.
○ Don Croce

○ Don Croce

The drive along the Amalfi Coast was beautiful, but got pretty white-knuckling when we took a shortcut through a mountain road that was even more winding and narrow than the main road along the coast. We enjoyed Positano despite a pretty rainy weekend, then headed off to the birthplace of my paternal grandparents.
© Don Croce

© Don Croce

Bellosguardo is a tiny hilltop town is in the middle of the Cilento National Park, which is east of Salerno. The owners of the agritourismo we stayed at spoke very good English, and their son took us around town as our own personal guide, interpreter, and chauffeur. We visited the municipal office of the commune and retrieved copies of my grandparents birth and marriage certificates. There are so many Croces in this little town of less than 1,000 people that it made tracking my heritage a little difficult. But since there has been a flight of the younger generation over the past several years, and the older generation is dying off, the town’s future is in jeopardy. The connection to my father’s past was very palpable and emotional, and was definitely the highlight of our trip for me.
© Don Croce

© Don Croce

From there, we drove to Rome and did the requisite tours of the Colosseum, Pantheon and Vatican. It was all breathtaking and pretty overwhelming at the same time! We also did a couple more food tours through the neighborhoods of Testaccio and Trestevere, and totally immersed ourselves in their unique styles. We highly recommend these two tours!
○ Don Croce

○ Don Croce

All in all, it was a trip of lifetime for us, and we are now totally consumed with all things Italian! We will definitely be continuing our Italian lessons with the SLC Italian Club as we prepare for our trip back to Italy

Comments

  1. Don and Jill,
    Looks like a fantastic trip…you covered a lot of ground in two weeks! I find Italians are so appreciative when you make an attempt to speak Italian, so I hope you practiced while you were there.
    Best wishes,
    Lisa

  2. AMAZING! My husband and I just went to Italy for the first time in May. We also visited the town where his great-grandfather is from. He was actually able to get his Italian citizenship because his Great-grandfather was a citizen and never renounced his Italian citizenship. So we are planning to move there in the next few years. In case you’re interested in getting your Italian citizenship, I’m sure you’d qualify.

What do you think?

*