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Italy Now

I’m in Italy as I write this, sort of post pandemic, sort of. The streets aren’t teeming with tourists, which is great for me, but not so great for Italy’s economy. It’s bouncing back, slowly, like the rest of the world. It’s a slow and painful process, mitigated by fear, politics and misinformation, but I’m not here to write about that.

I have missed this beautiful country more than I can say.

Landing in Rome 4 weeks ago was one of the best days of my life. My heart is here, along with friends who are family and a lifestyle that I thrive in. It had been 21 months since I last walked the cobblestone streets of what, to me, is the most beautiful city in the world. I cried more than I thought I would. I laughed more than I thought I would. I saw this city as if for the first time and I vowed to never take her beauty for granted; not that I ever did.

It seems to me that the coffee was richer, the pasta yummier; the pizza crisper; the smells of the city creating a perfume that thrilled my senses. I fell in love with Rome all over again.

We headed south to Naples for business before a happy group of tourists arrived for an adventure on the Amalfi Coast. Hugging our guide aka brother, Antonio, was one of the finest moments of the past two years.

We arrived at Villa San Cosma in Ravello on a bright sunny day, warm but not crazy summer hot. People settled in and wandered into the village square for drinks before pizza at our favorite spot in town. From there, a good night’s rest and we were off and running. From Pompeii to Positano, Sorrento to the Secret Terrace, Naples to a gorgeous vineyard in a Pompeiian ruin, our week overwhelmed our senses with each day creating memories that will make us all smile for years to come.

Saying farewell and until next time to a group is always bittersweet for us because the party is over. But on this trip, we barely caught our breath before the next happy group arrived for a 10-day adventure in Tuscany and Rome.

Greeting our travel-weary guests at the airport, we headed to our home (for the next week) in Cortona, where our guests settled in, chilled poolside (even in the cool weather), while Robert, Eric and I whipped up a welcome dinner to help our guests get to know each other.

Our adventure in Tuscany took us to Assisi (in Umbria), San Gimignano, Siena, Florence, Montefalco and a variety of tiny medieval villages discovered by our super guide (and my Italian sister), Elisabetta. We ooohhed and aahhhed our way from spot to spot enjoying the best Tuscany has to offer, from food to wine and treats you can only imagine.

Robert and Eric and I indulged our guests in the most decadent (vegan) food we could whip up in our kitchen and no one missed the meat (or cheese or cream or…).

It was off to Rome for the last days of our adventure with tours of the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Forum and walking tours of all the sights of the gorgeous city of Rome. We enjoyed the food of Rome in all its majestic glory, from chestnuts roasted on street corners to creamy risotto and crispy fried artichokes.

And now, before heading home once again, I’ll be chilling in Rome for the next two weeks, wandering the streets of my favorite neighborhoods and getting reacquainted with this city I love so much. With Robert and a few friends who hold our hearts, these next days will fill my need for this country until I can get back here again.

You might be thinking…why wasn’t I on one of those trips? I wonder the same thing. But there’s always next year for you to create your own memories of your Italian holiday.