Words by Danielle
We fell in love 8,347km apart and now travel the world together in hopes of inspiring other gay couples to do the same! We first met when I was studying abroad in Rome back in 2015, and even from our very first encounter, I knew we had something special. In fact, my very first thought was, “I don’t know if I want to BE her or BE WITH her.” In retrospect, it was clear as day, but it took me a bit to catch on!
After a month of endless wine nights, summer beach days and spontaneous road trips, I had to fly back to the States and finish university. Six months later, a bachelor degree in hand and no idea of what I wanted to do with my life, I booked a one-way ticket back to Italy and thus started our crazy adventures together!
When people say that time flies, it really does! 8 months, 35 cities and 15 regions later, I was lucky enough to call Italy one of my homes. We did everything from skiing in the Dolomiti to sleeping in treehouses above lavender fields to camping on abandoned beaches and kayaking through grottos. We paraglided over Lago di Garda and made way too many hikes to count while, of course, never skipping an opportunity to treat ourselves to a pizza or glass of wine along the way!
Although we were having the time of our lives, we knew that at some point we were going to have to be apart once again. We never lost hope, but rather, embraced the distance and made the absolute best of it. Whether it was Anna coming to visit me for a long weekend in Miami, meeting “halfway” in the Caribbean, or flying over to Italy for a quick getaway, we managed to see each other every two months. By no means would we consider it easy – between my full-time graduate student status, her career as a helicopter pilot, and six hours of time difference, there was a lot of room for error, but thanks to FaceTime, we made it work!
Fast forward two years, we made the decision to start the next chapter of our lives in America, together. We talked about getting married and made it clear that we both wanted to propose to one another, however, we never eluded to exactly when it would happen. That being said, you can imagine my surprise that summer day in the mountains when Anna asked me to be her wife!
A couple of days before her proposal, we flew into Milan and drove to the region of Trentino to meet up with her entire family. We had just finished a morning hike in the Dolomiti mountain range when it began to rain. Rather than head back to the hotel with the others, Anna convinced me to go for a drive in hopes of finding a place to take some cool drone footage. Upon setting up camp, she pulled out her ukulele and started to play our song, “Home” by Edward Sharpe… I had no idea should could actually play it, all while personalizing the lyrics to tell our love story!
After finishing the song, she pulled out a little wooden box. Expecting to find a diamond in there, you can imagine my face when I found an orange-flavored Ring Pop instead!! [Side note: Anna and I always joked about her getting me a Ring Pop instead of an actual ring so it was kind of hilarious!] What was even better was what happened next… She opened a little black box with the most precious ring and asked me those five little words – “Amore mio, mi vuoi sposare?”. With tears in both of our eyes, I can say that it was the easiest “yes” I’ve said in my entire life.
Just two short months later, I decided it was my time to pop the question!
Anna had just landed in Miami the day before, so she was still a bit jet-lagged. I convinced her that we should stop by this park overlooking the Miami skyline before dinner and off we went! Little did she know, I had my sister set up a romantic picnic with our favorite wine, fresh flowers, candles, and a variety of the most delicious mini-cakes! Upon entering the park we saw a bunch of well-dressed people doing photoshoots, so when we “stumbled” upon the picnic, it hadn’t phased Anna. I then whispered to her, “hey – should we go crash that picnic?” she immediately looked at me as if I was crazy! At that moment, I got down on one knee and asked her to spend the rest of our lives together [or rather confirm that she’s stuck with me forever!]. The best part was that she had NO idea! She immediately said yes and it was by far one of the best moments of my life!
We spent the rest of the evening enjoying the sunset, sipping wine and eating way too much cake – it was perfect.
Photography by Rita Foldi