Most people don’t even have to ask my ethnicity to know I’m Italian. I look Italian. I act Italian. I cook Italian. I have other blood running through my veins as well, but I most identify with my Italian side. I grew up with two very Italian grandparents. In fact, over 30 years ago, when I brought my then boyfriend home to meet them, my grandfather said, “A nice Italian name. As long as he’s Italian.” And he smiled. I married the Italian.
My grandmother longed to visit Italy. Unfortunately, she never got the chance. But she passed down her dreams of the homeland to my mom who has been three times and to me who has been dreaming of visiting Italy since the first time I visited Europe (to Spain with my 11th grade Spanish class).
My husband and I have been thinking about this trip for years… always saying “One day…” He’s nervous about the language barrier. I am not. Neither of us speak the language but I do speak & understand Spanish, which when I went to France I learned was very useful. I convinced Anthony, for our 25th wedding anniversary and 50th birthday celebrations, to take the trip. Finally. For two years, we’ve been researching and planning and preparing. I didn’t want to take a tour because I’m not all about the touristy places. I love the nooks & crannies of Europe that you don’t find in a tour book. I want to be free to find these places.
And so, our 11 day tour to Italy (doing it right by seeing — almost — everything we want to see) turned into a 16 day tour, tacking on Paris & London to the end of our trip. A friend in London, when I told her of our plan, said, “Well, it would be rude to be this close & not pay us a visit.” I asked Anthony what he thought and he didn’t say no. This was my in. Naturally, Paris is right in the middle, and while Anthony thinks he has no desire to visit France, I’m hoping this will be just enough of a tease to make him want more. We’ll see.
None-the-less, we are moving from North to South in Italy. We’ll be exploring the must see touristy places and hoping to get lost in the not-so-touristy ones too. We’ll be traveling by plane, boat, car, train from Venice to Florence, then Tuscany, and onto Rome, Naples, Sorrento and Capri. From the Amalfi coast, we’ll fly to Paris for a couple of days, then onto London (one of my happy places!)
I am beyond excited for this trip– really the trip of a lifetime for us. I keep pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.