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!