Italy · 6 Days · 7 Moments · July 2016

Daniel Madrid

Operaholic's Holiday- Drink up

9 July 2016

Teatro San Carlo. Napoli. The oldest continuously operating opera house in the world. Not only one of the oldest but it must be one of the most beautiful. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but if you behold this theatre and don't feel something, you're dead. It is said that when the great Giuseppe Verdi brought "Aida" to the theatre, the Neapolitan people gave him 40 curtain calls. After that, they unhitched the horses from his carriage and pulled the carriage themselves to where he stayed. Throughout the night, the people cheered his name out his window. Gone, but not forgotten, are those days when opera reigned supreme. Viva Verdi!

8 July 2016

Pompeii and Vesuvio. Yesterday was a long day of walking around the ancient ruins of Pompeii. There is currently an art installation in the grounds that really blends beautifully with the feeling of the city. It's amazing to think that one day in 980AD everyone was just waking up, throwing on their toga, walking to their work, and a few hours later the city is gone. It seems far away thinking about a volcano and Ancient Rome, but with everything that has been going on in the world, it doesn't have to be a volcano that changes everything. Again, Italy pulls out the "Think about your existence" card.

7 July 2016

Before I came to Ischia I never knew that the perfect way to relax after the beach is by drinking a Campari soda.

4 July 2016

Forio, Ischia Sono qui. I arrived in Ischia after a long walk to the train, an hour train to Naples, a short and would have been terrifying cab ride if not for living in NYC, a ferry that took one extra stop, and a cab to my adorable hotel. I'm staying at Villa Pensione Mafalda which is very near the school. The towels could be softer. They managed not only to dry my body but also to exfoliate trace amounts of my sunless tanner off. Added perks... I spent a wonderful 3.5 hours listening to my new talented singer friends work with my brilliant teacher. #operanerd. See? Told you! Fresh bruschetta, campari and soda, and limoncello on the house rounded out what ended up being a delightful day one on the beautiful island of Ischia.

3 July 2016

Fontana Trevi and gelato. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Who can think of anything else but those two trouncing around Rome on a moped with their perfectly coiffured hair and gorgeous smiles? Even if you haven't seen the movie, you must have seen the poster...?And if you haven't seen either I don't know what to tell you. With the hundreds of people selfie-ing and kissing next to the fountain it felt like we were all there for the same reason: la romanza. At night, this place oozes it. It may have helped that, in my hand, I carried the most delectable cone of Nocciola (Hazelnut) gelato and a surprise flavor called "Love Me" (which I did) that the owner decided I would like. Amore.
Verdi and Puccini. Being a self-proclaimed #operanerd I had to make it a point to view a few sights (and internal sounds) of opera in Rome. Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele. Any proper Verdi fan will know how passionate Giuseppe Verdi was for Italian unification. Emanuele was the first King of a unified Italy. Verdi's "Va, pensiero" chorus from Nabucco is his not-so-silent yearning for an Italy not under Austro-Hungarian rule. I had to take time to visit this massive monument to the great unifier of Italy. Castel Sant'Angelo. Mario! Mario! This is the setting of the iconic last scene in Puccini's Tosca. After Tosca has seemingly saved her lover from the evil Scarpia she meets him at the terrace of the Castle where a "false" execution will take place. Little does Tosca know, Scarpia was evil to the last drop and the execution went as planned. Unlike Maria Callas and those who came before and after, I took the stairs down. Mario is great but I'm great too.
The Colosseum and Roman Forum. I have never felt so small. Billions of people from all over the world have walked these streets. I stopped on Palatine Hill and thought of the Caesars, Popes, Kings, Dictators, and everyday people living their everyday lives. Every time, chills covered my body. I imagined a world of togas instead of tanks and shorts, and gladiators instead of quarterbacks. In the time of the Caesars this location was surely magnificent. Walking around the Forum, one can see the ruined marble floors. I wondered if the lines to get in the Colosseum in 2016 were in the same place as the year 16. Only instead of naval battles and bloodshed our age serves up selfie sticks and snapchats. Those traveling to Rome must experience these sights. I wish I had a proper historian as a guide. Historian or not, it is impossible to remain unchanged after walking through these small bedrooms, and grand piazzas. We are not it. We are a part of it.