My first night in Italy—on a shoestring-budget-trip while living in Europe as a grad student—I found myself in Ventimiglia, just over the border from France. My tattered guidebook said that Ventimiglia ‘wasn’t really worth a long stay,’ but I was enchanted. Look! the children really are playing soccer in the small plaza in front of the Romanesque church! Look! there really are red Vespas parked under laundry hanging across the narrow hilly lanes! Listen! there really is a couple arguing overhead, and there’s a kid practicing piano up over there! And then... the sun setting behind the Ligurian mountains, the sound of the tide washing pebbles on the Mediterranean shore... Despite the mosquitoes in my cheap room, I woke up the next morning giddy, and full of myself. “I’m IN ITALY!” I then had the best cafe latte of my life before catching the train for Florence.