Living Like An Italian…for a Little While Anyway
It feels like a moment ago that we landed in Rome, jetlagged from an overnight flight, but eager to welcome our guests, friends and family to another epic adventure in Italy.
Converging on Albergo Santa Chiara, (http://www.albergosantachiara.com/) a gorgeous boutique hotel, perfectly situated behind the magnificent Pantheon, we could easily walk to see all the wonders of Rome…from The Vatican and its museums to the best pizza and gelato. We were in the heart of this glorious city.
Three days of sightseeing with our group of happy tourists and we were off to Tuscany, one of the most beautiful regions in Italy, for a week of food, fun and more sights to overwhelm the senses.
Our villa was magical (http://www.villadimasseto.it/) and while the weather was blistering hot in Tuscany, we found respite in the pool after a long day and on canopied patios, shaded by gorgeous vines and trees. Cold glasses of prosecco, sparkling water and Italian craft beer completed the scene on many a day.
And we cooked…and ate…and cooked and ate some more. My happy band of cooks and I created meals from breakfast to dinner and included something for everybody. Eric’s delicious, moist and oh, so yummy muffins were an absolute morning hit, while Robert’s more traditional breakfast fare of soft grain porridge and delicious stewed veggies were eaten with as much enjoyment as the muffins, to be honest and started our days of sightseeing off right.
From homemade ravioli (stuffed with tofu , finely diced beet greens, fresh herbs and olive oil) served smothered in a homemade tomato sauce (from fresh local tomatoes), to tempura zucchini flowers; handmade gnocchi to miniature fruit tarts; barbecued seitan (yup…you read right…) to hearty veggie soups; biscotti to chocolate cake, we cooked our hearts out, with our guests wandering in and out of the kitchen, helping as they desired…or simply refreshing our wine glasses!
And then there was the Amalfi Coast. Oh, boy…
After our luscious group of friends, family and guests departed for home, we met up with our next group…a posse of rogues that make up our closest connections in this life. I always say that you’re born into a family who you will always love and will always love you (hopefully…). And then there’s the family you choose: those people upon whom your joy depends; with whom you have the best times…the people you can call at 3 AM, knowing they’ll be there for you, no matter what.
We piled onto a small bus for the long ride from the Rome airport to Ravello and our soon-to-be home for the next two weeks, Villa San Cosma (http://www.villasancosma.com/). Robert and I thought our peeps would be tired from their flight so we had planned for a relaxing ride, a quiet ride so they could rest up.
That ship had sailed! We laughed and talked and joked for the entire trip. Our intrepid driver, Salvatore remarked that he rarely had groups this ‘divertente’ (funny). He had no idea. You see, most of us had not seen each other in a year, since the last Italian adventure and we had a lot of catching up to do. Sure, we talk, email and all that, but to be together…all of us…for two glorious weeks was intoxicating.
And so we arrived in Ravello, tired and hungry but ready to party and we did…for two solid weeks. We toured, ate, shopped, cooked, baked, discovered and practiced the art of qigong, wandered around the town of Ravello and most important…loved each other and laughed til our sides ached.
We toured Pompeii, Herculaneum and Naples with the most charming, informative, smart, funny and engaging guide I have ever met. Antonio was a wealth of knowledge about the advancements of these ancient societies, some of them astonishing in that we still rely on these ancient inventions in our modern times. To listen to Antonio was to feel transported to life in these ancient cultures, to feel as though you were walking the streets, seeing these places as their people saw them. These tours were the highlight of the trip for us. I don’t think any of us have said the word, “Wow” more before or since. It was…amazing.
It was paradise…in paradise…otherwise known as the Amalfi coast.
In the end, everyone who joined us on this Italian adventure laughed, loved, ate, shopped, toured, discovered and created memories to last a lifetime. It was with tears…of joy and a bit of sadness that the adventure ended, that we said goodbye to another holiday. A-a-a-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h…it was bliss.
Of all the work I do to help people create the lives they want to live by discovering their paths to health and wellness, nothing brings me more joy than watching people smiling…all the time…as they discover Italy, the country I love so much, relaxing, eating delicious healthy food, creating friends and memories.
On our trips, our guests discover…and I re-discover each and every time…that the real meaning in life comes not from things, but from the love and joy of being surrounded by friends, family and people who will become friends.
I hope that each and every one of you experiences that joy…with me in Italy or on your own as you create your own adventures and memories. It’s truly priceless.
And now? Head to my site for some cool pics from our Italian adventure. And don’t forget to post your favorite summer memories so far! The season’s far from over, so let’s keep this party going!