I Went To A Club In Italy

I Went To A Club In Italy

Italy's clubbing lifestyle puts America's to shame.

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Being 18 in Europe you have access to more things than you do in America. That being said, I do not have experience in an American club to compare. I went to Italy on a guided tour with a few girls I graduated with and one of their moms. After exploring Florence all day, our tour guide asked us if we wanted to go to a club that was around the corner from our hotel. Since it was our last day in Florence, we all thought "why not?" The only way we were allowed to go was if the mom of our group went with us, which was completely fine with us four girls.

After everyone got gelato at the end of the day, our tour guide came to our room and walked us to the club, which was about a five-minute walk away. Getting to the door, we saw that there was a huge line. Our tour guide said "Well, here we are. Go ahead and get in line," and as we were about to walk over to the line, he said "I'm just kidding, follow me," he talked to the bouncer and we went in. I've gotta say, one of the best things about having a tour guide is that you can skip really long lines and you can experience things that you didn't even know you could. Anyway, upon entering we had the choice of a wrist band that allowed us to get alcohol and one that did not. Since this was our first time in a club, not to mention it was in a foreign country, we got the no alcohol wrist band but we were allowed to have one drink.

We got there right as the club opened and there were two stories to it. The bottom had a bar and karaoke with seating near a ramp that lead to the second story. At first, the second floor was closed. When we entered the first floor, there were a ton of people and they were singing "Breaking Free" from High School Musical. I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to understand the music but as they started singing songs like "Hey Soul Sister" and some song from a boy band that I can't remember, I started realizing that the majority of people in the room spoke English. This was a club for people visiting Italy.

Us four girls stayed together while the mom sat down on one of the sofas they had in the back. We sang along with whatever song was requested and I watched this one girl, who was already drunk out of her mind, stand up on the DJ's area and grab on to the railing that was above us. She started swinging on it until some of her friends got her down, she passed us and gave us a peace sign with a smile and not much sooner, they opened the second story. It was like opening a gate, almost the entire floor flooded into the hallway and we followed them. The second story was just a dance floor with a DJ on one end and the ramp on the other with a black box in between that people danced on. There were about five sofas around the room with a rail above us that people could get on but not many people did. However, about an hour into the second floor being open, these two drunk girls went to the top and started twerking over the edge. I was getting worried that they were gonna fall but, luckily, a security guard got them down before anything happened. The four of us danced in a circle with drunk girls coming up and dancing with us on occasion and then leaving to join their friends. We noticed there was a man there, way older than everyone else, we guessed he was about 40 years old and had bad intentions as he was trying to dance with very drunk girls. We kept an eye on him but he was mostly watching. When he got close to us, we rotated our circle so his target was blocked and he would return to the back. We danced for about an hour and a half and we went back downstairs to get some water. Two of us got Redbull which they put in a cup and we went back upstairs.

Almost immediately, boys started dancing with the two of us who had drinks, when they were finished dancing, we went to the bathroom where we met a girl from Australia, then we went back to dancing. This time, someone danced with all of us, someone actually salsa danced with me, one of my friends basically had a small dance battle with someone else, and the other two simply danced. We sang to the music and danced to the beat and then we realized that it was almost two in the morning. So we went back downstairs to grab the mom of our group and we went back to our hotel where we packed our bags to leave in the morning. When we went to breakfast, all the other moms asked about our experience. Then we took our suitcases to the bus and we were off to San Gimignano.

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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To My Fellow 20-Somethings Living For The Weekend, Wake Up And Grow Up!

And yes, I do mean from the naps that you "have" to take every day.

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It's been a few weeks since I've been in tune with myself to write something, but I've been seeing a recurring theme on social media that has really been upsetting me. I'm sure you've all seen it before, and you might be guilty of it yourself.

You're scrolling along on Instagram or Facebook when suddenly a picture sticks out to you from a person you're close to. The caption reads "Just wishing it was Friday already!" Or, "What I would give to be on vacation right now!" with a picture that looks like the .GIF below.

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If you're the two percent of people who haven't seen a post like this dead in the middle of winter, feel free to leave my article because this might not apply. For the rest of you that are probably rolling your eyes in agreement or might even be offended because you think I'm targeting you, continue on.

I get it. The weekend is nice, not having a metric ass ton of work to do can be nice, and dreaming of beach vacations is nice. But what purpose does it serve? Does it make you any happier to dream of the next Friday and weekend excursions to come? Bear with me here.

The weekend or your next vacation to come is something that we have all pondered at one time or another, and that's okay. However, people must understand that wishing for these "glorious" moments in our lives, whether it's as simple as binging Netflix on the weekend or as complex as a vacation in Aruba, rob us of our day-to-day happiness. How?

If you are living a life centered around this, it is merely a form of escapism that you are unaware of. Your desire to hit the town on a Friday night is natural. Wanting to do so because you hate school/work/what you're doing at the moment is a reflection of a much deeper lack of self-realization. What am I getting at here?

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I enjoy taking a vacation and having some lazy time just as much as anyone else. It's healthy to unplug from your day-to-day routine every now and again, especially if you are under a lot of stress. But wishing for the moments where you unplug from your routine means that you are incredibly unhappy either with yourself or what you do for a living. Trust me, I got defensive when I heard this for the first time, so if this unsettles you, listen to what I'm about to say.

What kind of life is worth living where your goal for the day is for 5:00 p.m. to come so you can go home, jump in bed, and take a nap? Naps are great, but naps don't inspire great ideas and fulfill your soul. I see college students that dread going to class every week, hate the classes they are in, write papers they don't want to write and take tests they don't want to take.

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On the outside looking in (as a college student who is almost done), is this how you want to live the rest of your life? As a 22-year-old now, I'm glad that the highlights of being 20 and 21 weren't me being out at the bar with my friends or spring break trips to the beach. I'm thankful that I wasn't so miserable with myself or with what I was learning in the classroom that I had to live for the Friday night to come, for darties to go to, and for ways to escape the "treachery" of a day-to-day routine.

I implore my peers now to take a long, hard look at themselves and to ask "Am I living for the weekend? Am I living to escape?" If there is any other answer than "no," there is work to be done and changes to be made. Happiness is being able to say "Yes, a vacation does sound nice. But I am incredibly blessed to do what I do every single day. I don't have it all figured out, but I'm happy to be where I am at now."

Growing up doesn't mean avoiding fun, or not enjoying a break every now and then. Growing up means finding fun and happiness in the ordinary.

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