Saturday, April 14, 2007






Its been awhile since my last post due to my travel with my son Jon to Italy. Two years ago I promised my son that we'd take a trip to the place where his paternal grand-parents migrated from. For years I have read books on Italy and watched many travel channel shows on this very rich in culture, art and history place. My husband stayed behind due to work and also expense, but he was happy that Jon and I would have this time together. I was hesitant to travel at this time because truly it is such a luxury and one that I certainly can't afford. But the bottom line is that there will always be a reason not to go and since Jon was little I tried to provide him not with things so much, but mostly memories that he can carry in his life. We don't have a lot of money but we are blessed with a very very rich life in ways that allow me to wake in the morning and smile.

Our trip to Italy began with a nine hour flight from New York to Rome. Upon arrival I realize that I will need Euro's. Trust me friends, do not purchase Euro's at the Airport in Italy. The exchange is not good and they charge you service fee's. Unless
you know the language (and trust me I used my broken Italian quite often) you don't always know what you are getting into. At the Hotel we meet Our trusty, quirky and delightful guide Dominic John Harris, a Scottish fellow who lives in Italy during heavy tourism time and in Scotland the rest of the time. It is a hectic and busy job he has, organizing, rushing us in the morning, singing on the bus and overall keeping us entertained. Dominic and our trusty driver Fabio (yes, Fabio) spent 10 days driving, organizing, searching for missing tourists, and entertaining us (Dominic is has a record label and share with us one of his very catchy fine tunes "Searching"). By the end of our trip everyone knew the words and sang delightfully during our bus rides. We were very fortunate to travel with a very nice group of 4o adults and about 8 kids. We got up every morning at about 6:30 and it was go, go, go all day. It was not a vacation for the faint at heart. On the first day one of the girls stated that her pedometer said we walked about 12,000 steps. Trust me it was a working vacation and all I have to say is Thank God for all the Vino.
Honestly Italy was bigger, richer and more beautiful than I had ever imagined. We were in Rome, Venice, Florence, Sorrento, and the Coast of Amalfi. In 10 days we saw more history and art than I have seen in my life time. I had deep moments of not wanting to return to the US. Italy is wonderfully passionate, with people who are so expressive and alive. They truly get it. They work and then close from 1-4 in
some areas for their siesta and then life picks up again. I think most human beings would benefit from such a break in the day. My favorite city was Florence, I am deeply affected by the peacefulness of the countryside with all its beautiful color, mountains and wild pastures.

Jon, who is 14, had a wonderful time meeting new friends, learning about his heritage and our time together (w
hich, as he's grown older is sporadic) was a gift to us, as we talked late into the night about our day and shared our favorite moments. For all who yearn to travel and like me often have a million reasons not to. Please do yourself and your loved ones a favor and do try. It is what we take with us and the memories we leave for others. Life is so very short and there are just so many aha moments and things that take your breath away like the Sistine Chapel, Pisa, St. Marks Square. For me this trip was an Aha moment often, the world has so much beauty and we really miss so much of if being busy making a living. I cannot tell you what my favorite moment was because everyday was a treasure that left me in awe. To explain what I saw and describe Michael Angelo's work or the enormity of the Trevi fountain would have zero impact until you see it.

6 comments:

Lisa said...

Maria,

I'm so happy for you that you took this amazing trip. You truly deserved it, and I can see how much you really enjoyed yourself! I would love to go there myself, although after your phone book fiasco searching for any remaining Scarnato's for me, I don't know if there's anyone left to visit!! Except for Paola!! Oh well, I can always visit the Toscano's!!

Just remember, if you take a sabbatical there, you have to pack me in your suitcase.

xoxo,
Lisa

Matty said...

What a wonderful trip and great memories you've made. Your son will never forget this trip. One day I hope to take a trip to Italy to show my sons where their father came from. He came from the village of Calabria, so they have a lot of family there that they have never met.
You must tell us of the meals you had.
Cheers!

Betty said...

You've brought back a lot of memories for me! I spent a summer living and working in Italy when I was in college. Siesta time annoyed me then, but I've often since thought of what a great idea it was! And I can still taste the food! I do want to go back, as a tourist this time, just to enjoy it.

And you brought up a very important point about creating memories with our children. I think I'll start now trying to plan a trip with my son, maybe when he's about the age yours is. As you say, there will always be a reason not to go (I'm already thinking of the money) but really, those memories would be a lifetime gift to the child.

Hugs,
Betty

Mark said...

It is great that you had such a wonderful trip! I love Italy. One of my favorite places to visit. I will be traveling to Germany this summer.

Helen Burton said...

Maria:

Thank you so very much for sharing your trip with us. I was in Italy in 1972 and reading your blog brought back so many memories.

Thanks Helen

Kacey said...

I come here from Lisa's blog. She is a great friend to you and the bloggers to whom she is loyal.
Your trip sounds truly fantastic. I know I'll never see Italy, because I have waited too long and don't have 12,000 steps in me, even on a good day. When I was younger, I wanted to see England, Ireland and Scotland, but now, I am happy to read the experiences of others. I'm certain your son will always remember the time alone with his mom. The best thing we can do for our children is make valuable childhood memories for them to recall later in life.