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The Homeland

posted Mar 30, 2018, 5:52 AM by Damiana Del Bagno   [ updated Mar 30, 2018, 5:53 AM ]
I am 100% Italian and it is every Italian’s dream to go to the homeland. My mom speaks fluent Italian and her parents are from Bari. Bari is located in the southern part of Italy. My junior year of high school, I was fortunate enough to be invited to play on a international softball team that was going to play in Italy. This was one of the most life changing experiences I’ve ever been a part of. 

On the first day, my team and I visited the Colosseum. When we got there I thought I was dreaming. The structure in front of me was not just some picture in my history textbook. It was right before my eyes. As we were walking inside the Colosseum, I felt like I was back in ancient Rome. I could hear the crowd cheering as the gladiators fought to the death. I could see the fear in the gladiators eyes while they rode in their chariots to their ultimate doom. All around me were tall cracked stone columns. The stone arches standing above amazed me as I marveled at the ancient accomplishment. 

My next two days were spent touring architectural structures including, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In photographs the structure looks like it was about to tip over, until I actually saw it in person. What fascinated me was that the building stayed leaning even though it was originally vertical. My team and I also visited St. Peter’s Basilica. The Roman encrusted letters over the entrance were incredible and there were detailed stone sculptures at the top of the building of saints and popes. The outside wasn’t even the best part, it was the inside. Everywhere I looked, there was gold. There were shrines dedicated to different saints and tombs of past popes. When I looked up, it told a story about God and even the ground I walked on told a story. The one thing that really grabbed my attention as I walked into the Basilica was the huge golden yellow, stained glass all the way at the end of the building. There were shiny gold angels surrounding this bright yellow light. There were rows and rows of pews facing this outstanding Catholic symbol. I can’t even put into words how beautiful it was, it was truly a spiritual experience.