Never realizing the pandemic would last as long as it did, and as I type this, it is still going on 2 years later, I wasnt sure when my next trip to Italy would be. My husband said two trips over for him was enough. I get it, not being Italian he does not have the same desire I do, to go as often as I can. Some trips to the same places, and some to new. I made a wonderful friend down in Pawleys Island who like me, is Italian American. As I got to know her, we discussed our upbringing, family traditions and trips to Italy. We both said our next trip we wanted to go with someone who would want to immerse themselves into the culture for a week. Many of my friends had not been to Italy, so it would not be fair for me to say I did not want to wait in line at the museums and attractions again. Since she and I had already done that on previous trips, we thought, why not go together? I didn’t know her that well, but well enough to know she would be good to travel with. Turns out, she is great to travel with. We sat down with a glass of wine, booked our flights and an apartment in Florence for a week. We ended up going in December, and during the time where Christmas decorations and Christmas markets were up and running. We saw the tree lighting at the Duomo. I have been to many tree lightings in my life, but this one was absolutely unforgettable. It just so happened too, that I had some friends living over in Florence for a year, so we connected with them several times, and we lived like locals. We shopped at the Central Mercato, purchasing truffle, biscotti, spices and espresso cups. The Nespresso store was like a high end boutique, and the pods were a fraction of what I pay in the states. We took day trips to San Gimignano, Montipulciano, and Pienza. We tasted wine, cheese, olive oil and enjoyed long lunches with views of Tuscany. We both ended up purchasing another large suitcase to bring all of our loot home.
The energy of Florence is magical. I am not a late night person at all, but I had no problem staying out late in Florence. I love to be a different person there than I am here, which is a predictable middle age woman who is in bed before 10 PM.
A third Italy trip in the books, each different, and I bring more Italian culture back with me each time.
The 2023 trip is being planned for mine and my cousins 60th birthdays. My heart tells me to go back to the Amalfi Coast, but my head is telling me to go somewhere new in Italy. I believe the smart thing to do is a little of both perhaps.
Until then la mia bella Italia!