God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Italy on the Horizon-Yeah!

Two years? Not possible! My mind, in vivid colors, conjures up familiar places, friends' faces, favorite tables at favorite trattorias, slopes of green vines, piazzas, art extraordinaire, lagoons, Giotto--so many imprints from so many visits, so much nostalgia for our Tuscan year. And now we are returning after a year's hiatus--how could we have stayed away so long? Ah, I remember, Kenya called and so lions and giraffes replaced David and Leonardo for 2010. And.....I don't regret that excursion at all--it was totally, monumentally spectacular.

But now we go home in 27 days--whose counting, anyway? Casey and I leave on June 15 via United and Lufthansa--San Diego, Chicago, Frankfurt-Rome; Ken follows the next day via United with a by far better routing--San Diego-D.C.-Rome. Why? Because Casey and I used miles for business while Ken has a revenue fare with a business upgrade. He needed the last few ff miles to reach the heady 1,000,000 mile with nice life-time perks. It would have been good to get our free tickets to match his itinerary but no such luck and since free is free we took what we could get.

Casey and I will stay at the Luana B&B near the Rome Airport waiting Ken's arrival the next day and then head on to our most favorite of all places, beautiful and serene Sant' Antonio outside of Montepulciano. This year will mark 10 years since we first arrived at Sant' Antonio and began our friendship with the owners Nico and Elena. Casey and their children have grown up together. We came there days after 9/11/2001 when the world was in mourning with the US. It was a somber time which forged lasting friendships wherever you were.

We love southern Tuscany and have explored it well over the years but..there are always places missed and those to revisit. We will do both during our week there.

Casey, Sofia and Filippo will again renew their friendship as children do while Ken and I will enjoy time with Nico and Elena. As I write, I long to be there.

From Sant' Antonio we go to Verona for just two nights. We want Casey to see the opera Aida in the Roman Arena there--well, we want to see it, too, actually. The opera season there is world famous and a truly special operatic event. We bought our tickets a long time ago. I understand that the spectacle includes elephants entering down the aisles which will surely captivate Casey if the arias don't. Aida Pictures from the 2009 Season

From Verona, train to Venice-- La Serenissima (the most serene.) We have an apartment there for 6 nights--not long enough but better than our original 3 nights. We've been there before--once just Ken and I in 1999 and then in 2003 with Casey. His memories consist of the pigeons in Piazza San Marco and the gondola ride when he oh so politely told the gondolier "these boats are called canoes in San Diego."

I am totally looking forward to these days in Venice. It is magical there--even with the early summer crowds. I love wandering lost among the calles and canals, admiring the creative vision and genius of building such magnificent structures on water, the food, the Tintoretto and Titian masterpieces, the riding the vaporetto, visiting the islands and the food, again. There is so much we have not seen there that our days will be full.

We pick up our car on leaving Venice, drive to Padua to view the exquisite Giotto frescoes in the Cappella degli Scrovegni. The next morning we will head on to our "home" in Greve-in-Chianti where we will nest for 4 weeks. We already know the first or maybe the second night will find us at Il Portico with Marcella.

Once again Casey will have his birthday there--the 4th time. He will officially  become a teenager then--13! Very hard to believe that the little boy who went to 3rd grade there is now almost a grown-up. His teachers and karate instructors will be very surprised by how big he is and by the excellence of his Italian. His tutors here have done a good job with him.

I will take a 3 day vacation-in-a-vacation to Dublin with my friend Rita. Having never been to Ireland, I look forward to this brief, small sampling. Rita has been there so she will be my guru--nice.

While in Greve, the three of us will head to Umbria for 3 nights and take a cooking class from a friend of mine. I will be sure to blog about Rebecca's place where we will stay and Letizia's cooking class. I think this is going to be a blast.

So that is the outline of our plans. The details will be filled in once we arrive and I begin blogging again on a fairly regular basis. It is so much easier when doing something new and different--not like boring at home stuff.

A Presto


Rebecca said...

The outline sounds fabulous. I'm so glad you didn't miss another year because I'm counting on your posts to get me through until next summer's trip. One of these days you and I may actually be in Italy at the same time:)

Jill in Seattle said...

We are so excited you are headed "home"!! We too are making a trip May 28 with a stop in Villafranche for 6 sleeps and then to the place we called home in Tuscany until June 23. Too bad our schedules didn't over lap so we could enjoy another glass of vino together. Maybe another year!

Safe travels! We'll be following along through your blog.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like a full and happy trip! I know Italy will be thrilled to have you back in her embrace . . .

Jane said...

Jill, what a bummer--to miss by such a few days. Actually we do overlap a few but it might be difficult to find time your last days.

Rebecca, I'll take some special pictures for you.

Jerry, what a nice way expressing our return!

Becca said...

I have been following you for quite a while and I really love reading your posts. I am so excited that you are returning to Italy this summer and I look forward to your posts. We stayed in a villa in Panzano a few years ago and loved walking around Greve. I dream of going back someday but first we have to get 5 kids through college and employed! Happy travels!

Jane said...

Becca, so...you are one of those I wonder about...as I look at my stats sometimes I wonder who the people are who check in from time to time. Thanks for reading it and thanks for commenting. Jane
PS I hope you get back to Italy before too long but 5 kids and college is a challenge.

Diane said...

Jane--Glad to hear your long-awaited trip back to Italy is on the horizon. As I've offered before, we have guest quarters, but it seems like your nights are all accounted for. I would like to get the boys together once again, have Casey meet Dante's friends here in Veroli, take you around our little undiscovered, corner of Italy (Trisulti, Prato di Campoli, Casamari). I know with Casey it's hard to get him away from Greve and we are often in NY in July (but not this year!). Let's talk next time you're planning and see if we can work something out. Ciao ciao, Diane

sandrac said...

What a wonderful plan, Jane! I look forward to seeing you there!

menehune said...

Such a great itinerary! Love your vacation within a vacation too. Seems many will be relocating to Italy at the same time! ahhhh....I'll be dreamin'. Safe and happy travels.

Jane said...

Menehune, isn't a vacation within a vacation a great idea? Can't have enough. Thanks for the good wishes.

Sandra, look forward to our time together. It will be fun.