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!

Memories of Italy – View from a Tuscan Villa

Tuscany

Perfect in every way. Tuscany is everything anyone ever tells you, and more!

Hooked on Sunsets – Siena Tuscany

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I think our villa in Tuscany (a converted barn), was built for sunsets. Perfect in every way. The people of Tuscany are truly blessed to see the every evening.

Rooftops of Rome

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The sun sets on my last evening in Rome. So sad to leave. Can’t believe three weeks have already passed. Arrivederci Roma. Milano, Lake Garda, Siena, Montepulciano, Angulllara Sabazia, Positano, Minori, Amalfi and last of all Ravello. I actually cried as I walked across the market square for the final time in Ravello. The people and the views will be with me forever.

Now the research begins to buy a second home here.

Farewell Siena

Been struggling with the wifi connection here at the villa, but to be honest, its been the last thing on my mind. This is the most beautiful relaxing place I’ve ever stayed. Maybe Tuscany is a good place for that second home, but not going to make a decision until I’ve been to Ravello. I was born loving Italy and that love just gets deeper as I get older. Now I need to raise some money to live here for part of the year.

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Tuscany – Love it – Live it – Linger in it!

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Rolling hills as far as the eye can see.

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Giggling Policeman – Driving Tips for your Italian Vacation!

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Whether you are driving your own car or a hired vehicle it is most important that you carry your driving license and the car’s insurance with you at all times. The Carabinieri and the Police do spot checks of both vehicles and drivers’ documents all the time. If uniformed policemen bristling with machine guns and self-importance wave lollipops at you, don’t panic, but please, do stop! They will want to see your license, log book and insurance. They may kick your tyres and check your lights and brakes. The younger and prettier you are, the longer they will spend discussing your motor car. They are generally very polite and friendly. Naturally the armoury induces a polite, even servile reaction from all but the most audacious driver! Speed limits are nastily in force with ruinous fines. Even if you are driving a hired car such fines will eventually catch up with you. These speed limits change depending on the day of the week and the type of road. They also change without much warning from one season to another. This helps the Italian government to collect some of the taxes it loses from the income tax declarations of its native population and assist in holiday funds for its politicians. Currently the speed limits are:

On weekdays, on non-motorway roads (including link roads such as the Firenze – Siena) 100 kms per hour. However, since the local authorities forgot to apply for ‘Superstrada’ status in time, this road is now reduced (temporarily??) to 90 km. per hour. It helps fill the coffers.

On weekdays, on motor ways (Autostrade):

130 km. per hour.At weekends and holidays, on non-motorway roads: 90 km. per hour. At weekends and holidays, on motorways: 110 km per hour Watch out for elongated holiday weekends, short stretches of roads with 50 km. limits, hidden little cameras and giggling policemen, and sudden changes in the law, especially when there is a tax crisis. Fines start at 100.00 euro and go up fast.

And this is why I love the Italians……..giggling policemen? Can’t wait!

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.

 

Rome

In 2010 I visited Rome for the first time and was completely overwhelmed by its history and its beauty. I’ve visited Italy several times over the years, its my favorite place in the world, but Rome was different. I inhaled the atmosphere and never wanted to leave. That was five years ago.

I am going back to Italy this year and it’s going to be a fantastic event. As well as spending a few days in Rome, we’re renting a villa in Tuscany with friends, visiting Milan for the first time, re-visiting Lake Garda and spending a few days in Ravello. The anticipation is exciting. I can hardly wait.

Can't wait to people watch!

Can’t wait to people watch!

I’ve replaced my header with a photo taken on my last visit. It’s the old Roman wall and we were lucky enough to look out at it from our hotel ‘Grand Flora’ on Via Veneto. Can’t wait to return to it. The staff was wonderful and they added to a fantastic vacation.