Jacquelyn Laurenda has been fascinated by Italy (especially Rome) for as long as she can remember, but until her late 20s all of her “journeys” to the bel paese took place through art and literature. More than two decades later, she has travelled (in the flesh) to Italy dozens of times, and each visit has deepened her passion for Italian art, architecture, and history – not to mention Italy’s natural beauty, exquisite food, and lyrical language. Jacquelyn now has the pleasure of introducing her granddaughter, Lumina, to the wonders of Italy, and it is from these special travels that this blog was born.
Jacquelyn holds an Honours BA in Classical Studies and Italian, a Language Citation in Italian, and an MA in English from the University of Toronto. She is currently pursuing further academic interests as a graduate student in the Italian Department at the U of T. Her studies come in particularly handy as she explores the countless museums, galleries, ruins, piazzas and churches of the most intriguing and beautiful country in the world.
Lumina was born in southern France, in a region that was once one of the seven Gallic provinces of the Roman Empire. She loves foxes, playing the piano, hazelnut gelato, and swimming (especially in the Tyrrhenian). A budding photographer and environmentalist, Lumina is keen to do her part to protect Earth’s increasingly threatened wildlife population. She teaches her family something new about nature every single day.
Why “Small Footprints”?
I started this blog as a forum for exploring two main questions:
1) Is it possible to reconcile my passion for travel to Italy with a commitment to sustainable living? 2) Can I share the wonders of the bel paese with my children and grandchildren while also modelling environmental responsibility, or is trans-Atlantic travel entirely incompatible with ecological sustainability?
My objective is to foster a love for my favourite place on earth – Italy – while also role modelling respect for the planet as a whole. As part of this mandate, Small Footprints Italy addresses the problem of over-tourism in Italy’s “top three” – Rome, Florence, and Venice – by exploring less-travelled but equally magical Italian cities, towns, and villages.
I have to be honest: Roma Caput Mundi will always be the centre of the architectural, artistic, and historical universe for me. The fact that Rome is one of the world’s most-visited cities suggests that my opinion of the Eternal City is widely shared, but it also means that our touristic footprint on Rome is too large. Realizing that if I am not part of the solution I am part of the problem, I am expanding my horizons beyond Rome’s ancient walls and sharing my travel experiences on this blog.
One of the most effective ways to explore the world sustainably is to fully exploit the pleasures and benefits of armchair travel. While never a substitute for actually experiencing new places and cultures, armchair journeys enrich real-life travel by letting us get a taste for our destination before we even leave home. To that end, Small Footprints Italy reviews an abundance of fiction and non-fiction about Italy for both children and adults. (And stay tuned for a new series of children’s books set in Italy by yours truly, coming soon!)
Since my main companion for both armchair and real-life travel is eight years old, Small Footprints Italy has a special focus on kid-friendly travel and literature. Lumina’s insights and recommendations are just as relevant as my own, and she has agreed to let me share them with you and your family on this blog.