My first trip to Italy was when I was sixteen.It was 1973. I went with my mum and my eccentric Aunt. It was love at first sight and I had the time of my life. My dad took us to the airport and waved us goodbye. My aunt and my mum were like giggly schoolchildren, even though they were in their mid fifties. It was the first time my mum had left England.
The first smell of Italian air intoxicated me. I was hooked before I even left the airport.
We arrived at our hotel ‘Hotel President’ on the Piazza Tripoli, just one block away from the beach. I could smell the Adriatic.
My mum and my eccentric aunt did their own thing, trips, dances and sight-seeing and I wandered the cobbled streets of Rimini and enjoyed myself. I loved the sun, the beach, the bars, the restaurants, but most of all, I loved the people.
The beaches were pretty crowded, but that was OK, because as I said earlier, I loved the people.
I know Rimini is full of tourists, mostly from Britain, but I was blind to anything but the Italians and their way of life.
I loved the food, the wine, the smell, the atmosphere. I loved everything and I knew I would be back again soon.
I was right. I returned every year for the next three years.
It was the start of a romance that would last for the rest of my life.
Now, almost forty years later, the attraction is as strong as ever.
I think about Italy every day. I look at my photos and remember.
I have visited Rome, Sorrento, Frascati, Capri, Verona, Lake Garda, San Marino, San Leo, Lido de Jesolo and Rimini as well as several small towns I don’t remember the name of.
Where next? Maybe Positano and the Amalfi Coast. After a brief visit to Sorrento in 2010, I know I need to see it again.