For the love of Italy!

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Sunday Mornings find me sitting at the dining room table paying bills and catching up with friends on Social Media and by email. My view is pretty idyllic. Trees changing color, snow-capped mountains and clear blue skies. I love my home and I love Colorado, but…..as I sip my second cup of Cappuccino, my heart aches for Italy.

I was fifteen when I visited Rimini for the first time. It was my first trip abroad. I was accompanied by my mum and my crazy aunty Jennie! I inhaled the Italian culture and was immediately hooked. Crazy aunty Jennie and my mum aren’t with me anymore, and I miss them. My obsession with Italy is still here though, and always will be.

I returned the following two years with friends my own age, although I spent a lot of time on my own. They were smitten with the Italian men, who are of course, very handsome. I wasn’t oblivious to them, and enjoyed a holiday romance, but it was the country that won my heart. Even now when I think about Italy, I can barely breathe.

I returned again in 1983, driving there from Germany where I lived with my husband, a British soldier. I worried he wouldn’t share my obsession, but he did.

My daughter was seven when we took her to Italy for the first time. She might as well have been Italian she fitted in so well.

Five years ago we spent two weeks in Rome and my love affair deepened. This year returned with friends and family. We did it all. Four days in Milan, two days in Garda, a week in Siena, a week in Rome and a week in Ravello. It wasn’t long enough, I wanted to stay forever.

So as I sit here, sipping my Cappuccino (not to be drank after noon), I dream of Italy and scour Italian Real Estate because I know where I want to retire!

A Home in Italy? I hope so!

My first memory  wasn’t pleasant, it was of a nasty, mean, miserable, violent man, my dad. Luckily I only had to endure him until I was four years old. The memory however, is etched in my brain. I’d say ‘God Rest his Soul’, but I don’t mean it!

My second memory is Italy. I didn’t actually venture to that magical country until I was fifteen, but I dreamed of it from an early age. I think I was five years old when I became obsessed with Italy. I’m not even sure why. The man who drove the ice cream van that came to our village was Italian, and very nice to me. My mum’s hairstylist was Italian, Pietro, he was very handsome, and kind. I loved the movie ‘Roman Holiday’ (who didn’t?), but honestly, I don’t know where my obsession with Italy started.

I finally made my first trip to Rimini with my mum and my crazy Aunt Jennie in 1972, I was hooked. I returned every year for the next four years. I couldn’t get enough of the place. It touched my soul. In 1977 I was married and pretty soon had my husband hooked too. Italian cars, Italian wine, Italian food, Italian shoes, Italian Football.

Rimini, Lido de Jesolo, Verona, Garda, Venice, Murano, Burano, San Marino, San Leo, I loved them all. In 2010, when I visited Rome, my obsession reached a whole new level. The history in Rome is overwhelming, the piazzas and cobbled streets, restaurants, and of course, the people!

This year I spent three weeks in Italy, it changed my life. I visited Roma, Milano, Lake Garda, Siena, Montepulciano, Ravello, Positano, Amalfi, Minori and made an unplanned and surprising trip to Anguillara Sabazia on Lake Bracciano, just outside Rome. My husband was even more smitten than me. He’s a man of action and is now planning purchasing a second home there, with a view to living there when we eventually retire.

I thinks its more than just a pipe dream. Maybe we’ll make a few more trips over the next few years, to find the perfect place, but it looks like my Italian dream may one day become my Italian lifestyle. I hope so!

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The Colors of Lake Garda and Farewell to Milano.

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I tried to post this yesterday, but my internet connection was too slow! Lake Garda is beautiful. We stayed in Garda, but took a boat trip across to Sirmione. Gorgeous. Sad to leave Hotel Vittorio and hope to go back again one day. What a gorgeous friendly hotel with fish freshly caught from the lake. Great food, good local wine and lovely people.

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Speaking of People! When we got back to Milano, we had a great pizza and salad, washed down with beer and wine. The rest of the day we spent people watching, and there are plenty of people to watch here. Tomorrow we drive south to Siena. Exciting. Never been there before. Both Milano and Siena are new to me. Rome and Garda were like visiting old friends.

Muggy Morning in Milano

Hot and muggy is a good way to describe the day. The walk to the top of the Duomo left me dripping! The locals complained the loudest today. I didn’t mind a bit. Just happy to be here! Bought a purse in pretty, soft Italian leather. My husband bought a pair of shoes from PRADA!!! (Isn’t it written somewhere that the Devil wears Prada?).

Finished the day with a fantastic plate of Fritto Misto, washed down with a glass of Prosecco. Where tomorrow? Lake Garda!

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Once Upon a Time in Italy

In 1973 when I went to Italy for the first time. It was one of those ‘all inclusive’ package tours. I went with my mum and my crazy old Aunt. The minute I stepped off the plane I was in love with the place. I was fifteen. I spend two weeks wandering along the beach, basking in the sun and enjoying the atmosphere. I explored the streets, always turning the corner to find something new to delight me. I returned the following year, and the one after. I was hooked. Italy 1973

In 1977 I got married and money was tight for my young husband and I. We were happy to be anywhere, as long as we were together, but Italy was on our bucket list! In 1983 we could finally afford the trip. My husband, a British Soldier, was stationed in Germany and we drove through the Alps, what a lovely way to get there. Did he share my love of the country. Yes, he was hooked right away.

We drove through the Alps to Italy in our very own Alfa Romeo

We drove through the Alps to Italy in our very own Alfa Romeo

I gave birth to my beautiful daughter in 1984 and soon after we moved back to England. With only one pay check, vacations abroad were out of the question and it was 1993 before we could afford a vacation in Italy again. Lido de Jesolo this time. My daughter was seven years old. She took to the country and the language like a fish to water.

Once upon a time on the shores of Lake Garda

Once upon a time on the shores of Lake Garda

We moved to the USA in 1995. Lots to see and places to visit. San Francisco and New Orleans became my favorite cities to visit. I Loved shopping in New York, enjoyed trips to Mexico for sun, sea and sand, but yearned to return to Italy. Long way, lots of money, would we ever be able to afford it? Eventually in 2010, we could stand it no longer. We needed an Italy fix and booked a trip to Rome. Two weeks in that Eternal City were not long enough. We took the train to Frascati, rented a car and drove to Sorrento and Pompeii, but mostly enjoyed walking the streets of Rome and mixing with the locals.

The Eternal City 2010

The Eternal City 2010

I’m getting older now, I can’t wait another ten years before I see Italy again. In a couple of months my husband and I fly to Rome, but this time for three weeks. Rome, Milan, Lake Garda, Siena, Ravello – I can barely wait! My daughter and her new husband will be with us too, how special. Life evolves, things change, but Italy will always be a part of me. Hope you enjoy the photos!

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Rome, Milan, Lake Garda, Siena and Ravello – not long now.

It isn’t difficult to tell I started a new job. This is my first post since March 22nd. After over three months at home its hard to get back into the swing of working again. Last week I was WIPED OUT and could barely stay awake when I got home. This week is a little easier, but I’m still tired. Hard to believe a three-month break can change so much, I’ve worked all of my life.

Now my daughter, who has always lived close by is starting a new job too, in Dallas. I’m very happy for her, and sad that I’ll have to get on a plane to see her now. It’s a fantastic opportunity that she can’t refuse. She’s a smart cookie. Nothing stays the same for long. It is going to  make our summer trip to Italy very special because I’ll have her with me for two whole weeks. Italy and family, what could be better?

1993 - Italy

1993 – Italy

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Rome 2010 – Restaurant 35

Pretty soon I’ll be able to add more photos from Italy. Rome, Milan, Lake Garda, Siena and Ravello in July 2015. Can’t wait! I know Rome well, but if anyone has any suggestions or tips for the rest of my trip I’d love to hear them.

 

Italy 2014

No I am not talking about World Cup Football, I am talking about my next trip to Italy. In 2014 I am entitled to my next Sabbatical from work. I will have been with the company for 15 years. Where am I going? Italy of course. Yes I know 2014 is a couple of years away, but a girl has to dream. It is going to be a special vacation as my daughter and her boyfriend are accompanying us. We will be celebrating her 30th birthday.

I already have my itinerary planned.

Fly into Rome of course. Where to stay? Marriott Hotel Grand Flora, that bit is easy!

View from Marriott Hotel Grand Flora in Rome

We stayed in this beautiful hotel whilst in Rome in 2010. It was enchanting and the staff were both friendly and entertaining. I won’t even look anywhere else.

After four days in Rome where next? Lake Garda! In 1993 we had a family Vacation in Lido De Jesolo. We took a trip from there to Lake Garda and my husband continues to talk about it, so we will spend four days in Rome before renting a car and driving to Lake Garda for a few days. From there we can visit Verona, Milan, Venice, Murano and Burano. Lovely!

Image by Italy Lake Garda (See Blogroll)

Following Lake Garda, a drive south to Tuscany. I like the look of the hotel below.

Tuscan Hill Top Hotel

From here we can explore the Tuscan countryside before returning to Roma for the last couple of nights.

Sounds like a dream right? It is a dream that is going to come true, I will make sure of it.

I may have to wait until the FIFA World Cup is over as it is being held in Brazil in 2014 and will be much easier to watch from my home in Colorado, but once it’s done…..Italy here we come.

Can’t wait!