Joie Davidow

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Italy: A Romantic Journey
Photography by Rochelle Cheever, Text by Joie Davidow
Finalist 2018 International Book Awards for Travel Essay

Springtime Books, Great Britain 2017

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Excerpt
From the essay "The Romance of Italy"


They come every year, as they have been coming for centuries, thousands upon thousands of them, the sentimental tourists on a romantic journey, the lovers, the honeymooners, the enamored. They come to be married in Italy, to celebrate their 50th anniversary, their renewal of vows. They come to offer proposals of marriage in a place so romantic they’ll remember it for the rest of their lives.
Why Italy? It’s a beautiful country, breathtaking. The rolling hills of Umbria, Tuscany, Le Marche, the endless fields of Puglia, the mountains of Abruzzo, the beaches of Ischia, Capri, Sardinia and Sicily. They say that on the seventh day, God didn’t rest. He created Italy.
But lots of countries are beautiful. It has to be more than that. So add to the beauty the history. Apart from the glory of ancient Rome, every hilltop is crowned with a picturesque walled city, every village blessed with a historic church — at least one. Henry James wrote that in Rome, there was “history in the stones of the street and the atoms of the sunshine.” Walking the narrow cobblestoned streets of Italy, the tears, smiles, kisses and laughter of the generations walk with you. If your love is here to stay, you’ll find its permanence reflected in Italy among the remainders of ancient civilizations, ancient romances. Charles Dickens wrote of Italy that “in every fragment of her fallen Temples, and every stone of her deserted palaces and prisons, she helps to inculcate the lesson that the wheel of Time is rolling for an end, and that the world is, in all great essentials, better, gentler, more forbearing,
and more hopeful, as it rolls!” There is a comfort in that.
Couples find it fitting to marry in an ancient castle, believing that their love, like its stone walls, will withstand the test of time, and that their love, like the sweeping landscape over which the castle looms, is beautiful beyond words.

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