Spring Encounter as Text
By Emiliana Tacconi of FIU in Tampa, January 27, 2023.
I decided to participate in the Italia study abroad because I want to learn more about my heritage. Both of my paternal grandparents and my maternal grandfather were born and raised in Italia, and had to immigrate to Venezuela in order to escape from the horrors of World War 2. Sadly, my paternal grandfather passed away before I was even born, and my maternal grandfather passed away months before I migrated to the United States of America. Nevertheless, their memories and spirits still remain alive to this day through the stories my family fondly shares. Furthermore, my paternal grandmother, or my Nonna, lives in Venezuela and cannot travel to the United States regularly to visit due to her age. While I still have a living family in Italia, my most treasured connections are hanging by a thread, and I am hoping I will be able to strengthen those connections by learning more about the country my grandparents loved so much. Thankfully, I have been able to visit Italia multiple times, especially when I was a little girl. The two memories I look back on the most are when my Italian cousins introduced me to Nutella, and when my Nonna, my family and I, welcomed the new year.
Baby Emiliana celebrating New Years (photo by Taziana Bartolucci/Tacconi-Bartolucci Media)
When I think of Italia, I think of history. The history of my family, my career, and my religion. The history of my family past and present, as I continue to create memories in the country that birthed my last names with my family, and by myself. I knew this was the program destined for me when during an information meeting, Professor John William Bailly explained that this study abroad focuses on understanding our current selves by understanding our past. This message resonated with me, especially because I will be turning twenty years old during the program, a time where studying the history of Italia will help me understand the history of my family and the history of my career. The history of my career because the foundation of politics and law originated in Ancient Rome, and I am studying political science and will become a prosecuting attorney. I became increasingly interested in Italian law and politics when I studied The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli and when I learned that civil law and the practice of prosecuting a criminal started in Italia and are still used in the United States as well as most of the Western countries. The history of my religion because the Vatican is the heart of Catholicism. I am most looking forward to studying my religion wholly and in person. In order to appreciate the beauty of catholicism, it is imperative to criticize the horrors the Catholic Church has and continues to perpetuate. Paralleling the theme of understanding the present through the eyes of the past, I want to learn the ugly truths history wants to erase in order to keep up the facade of a pretty picture.
I am most excited to send my family a postcard from the Vatican, to research the philosophical roots of the Renaissance in Firenze, and to connect to my religion in Cinque Terre, more specifically, while we stay in the Santuario Nostra Signora di Soviore. I want to write to my family about the academic experience of visiting the Vatican, and for there to be evidence of how that experience affected me in the moment, in the hands of my beloved. So far in my career, political philosophy has been the most interesting subject. Ever since I read The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli, I have been waiting for the moment to visit his city and research the philosophical roots he was inspired by and others were planting during the Renaissance in Florence. In regards to connecting with my religion, I knew that while the Vatican was going to be the most academic experience, the Santuario Nostra Signora di Soviore will be the most spiritual experience. I am looking forward to hearing the experience of the monks living there, and to being struck by the sculpture of the Virgin Mary holding her dead son.
Overall, I expect this program to be a transformative experience in a transformative period of my life. I will be leaving behind girlhood and entering womanhood as during this trip I will turn twenty years old. In my mind, Italia is a familiar country and Rome means visiting my zios and cougine. So to be able to experience a new side of Italia as I visit places I have never been to before, and learn the complex reality of such an influential country.