My name is Gianna and I am a college student from the United States currently studying at the Sant’Anna Institute in Sorrento this winter and spring.

A few years ago, I visited Italy with my family and felt an especially strong connection to the town of Sorrento. Ever since then, I have dreamed of studying in Italy.

This dream has become a reality and I could not be more excited.

Over the past two weeks I have been soaking in all of the wonders of Sorrento. On my first day, I was excited to see all of the Christmas decorations still hanging over the streets.

That night I went for gelato and walked along the main street soaking in the beautiful lights and the music of the street performers.

After planning this trip for so long it felt so surreal to be here. It is hard to describe the overwhelming sense of happiness and excitement, but most of all I felt at ease.

From the moment I arrived in Sorrento, everyone has been so warm and welcoming.

Though I can not fluently speak Italian, I can understand it fairly well. Last week me and my friend wandered into a local ceramic shop and we ended up speaking with the woman who owned the store for over an hour.

After realizing we understood Italian, she began speaking to us in Italian, saying we’ll get better at the language by engaging in conversation.

In that hour she told us about her store and her family and she told us to come back to the store anytime to talk. I left her shop feeling pure happiness.

She gave us each a bookmark to use for school and to welcome us to Sorrento and it is something I will cherish forever.

Campanile Sorrento segnalibro Gianna Smurro About Sorrento Sant'Anna Institute

My first week here it rained quite a bit, but the sun has been out and so I’ve been able to explore the Marina Grande.

The first time I walked along the water I couldn’t help but notice how serene it was.

Looking across the calm water you can see Mount Vesuvius and it feels as though you are looking at a painting.

I just sat down, taking in my surroundings and listening to the waves lapping on shore.

Even from my window, I am able to hear the relaxing sound of the waves.

I have grown up very close to the ocean and living in Sorrento right next to the water is even better than I imagined.

This is just scratching the surface of what an amazing place Sorrento is and I am excited to get to know this place on a much deeper level.

In this blog series over the next few months, I will give a glimpse into my experience living in Sorrento.

Though this is my second time here, it is as if I’m exploring this wonderful town for the first time and I have found so many things to love.

I love talking with the locals in the town; walking along the Marina Grande in the early morning;      looking out my window and seeing the magnificent Mount Vesuvius.

I love hearing the church bells every morning and night and wandering along the cobblestone streets.

I already love Sorrento and I am so grateful and excited to be studying here for the next few months. I am looking forward to exploring the coast in this amazing place I get to call home.