Monday, June 04, 2012

We Go Adventuring Eventually

Day 68: Packing AgainPerhaps you heard me groan on Thursday. That's when my card got charged for 3 round trip plane tickets to Italy. If you did I hope you also heard me sigh and giggle that night as I researched (sort of) affordable hotels. The hotel part finally made me excited about the trip.

This is a life list item. It's two actually. I have never been to Italy and want to go and eat and enjoy. I told my mother I would bring her to Italy for her 70th birthday. She's 72 now. My life list contains two items one after the other (in no particular order) and they are, "go on at least one more trip with mom" and "go on at least one more trip with dad." (AT LEAST!) I think it will be wise not to attach dad's next trip to a specific birthday. I'd love it if we could go next year. Cross off the items and go while we can still walk enough to be good tourists. (OK, dad, where do you want to go?) Then we can plan the trip after that!

UntitledOn the evening of September 5 mom, Queen Bee, and I will depart New York for Rome. We will spend a couple of days there then take the train to Florence. We'll spend at least three days in Florence so we can do a day trip to Tuscany before we train up to Venice. I want to see Venice before it sinks. We'll do as many sites as we can stand, because who knows when any of us will get back there, but mostly I want to eat and drink my way through Italy. I want to take photos of food and wine while eating food and sipping wine. I want to snack and taste and consume the country to bring back with me.

It's expensive. I'm trying to make peace with that. My fears about money are cyclical. I have to be careful to catch the right swing or rise for any endeavor. Some days it's just money and you can't take it with you. Other days I'm going to be eating cat food when I'm 65. And not the good stuff my cats eat, the store brand crap that's mostly sawdust. (No, honestly, I spent a dog walk this week debating whether, in this day and age of hoity toity pet care, it would actually still be cheaper to live on pet food. Conclusion: Yes, but only the crap.)

The truth of it is, though, that you can't take it with you and there are no guarantees in life and I can go on this trip right now so I better quit bellyaching and go and enjoy it. While, of course, choosing my hotels carefully. So, anyone been to Italy? Did you stay in a fabulous lower cost hotel? I found what look to be wonderful options on The Rough Guide site but personal recommendations are always the best. We'd like to stay in places that remind us we're in Italy, not just any concrete box, but we'd also like to save more of our pennies for the aforementioned food and wine.

Dudes, I'm going to Italy!


  1. WOW! I'm totally going to live vicariously through you!

    The Chili Family is planning a trip to England and Scotland next summer. Punkin' Pie is going in April with the marching band, but that's going to be whirlwind-ish and I'd rather have my first experience of my ancestral homeland to be a bit more leisurely. I SO hear you about the money...

  2. I am so freakin excited for you and Nan and MamaKizz. . . I can't wait to read and see and hear how it all tastes. So proud of you for deciding to go

  3. YAY, that is grandgrandgrand! This is our friend Michael's magic powers at work: I'm not sure whether your trip would be coinciding with the grape harvest, or some other excruciatingly memorable food/drink event, but he sure will know... More here: - there are sometimes cooking lessons going on with an Italian chef, too... OH - and - photo #3 is M with the d.o.g.s. Buon viaggio!

  4. Anonymous3:51 PM

    Yo. Go here when you're in Florence. Ron lived near there untold years ago, and people still love the place. Plus, go across the piazza to see Galileo's finger bones. The Catholics kept in on the offchance he stopped being a heretic and turned into a saint. Regardless, Vivoli's is better than anything else you'll visit in Florence.

    - catherine

  5. Ummm... I know this isn't about eating and drinking your way around Italy (and trust me, I never had a bad meal there- what I did is usually went to a mercato (great one in Florence especially to grab some bread, etc.) for breakfast then had a big gelato for lunch- the way to tell a good gelato place is look at the banana flavour- if it's grey-beige, it's authentic, if it's yellow, it been made from a mix therefore the rest of the place is suspect) then spent all my hard earned pennies on multi-course food, multi-course wine for dinner)... but a 20 minute public bus ride outside Florence is the town of Fiesole.

    Fiesole is home to an Etruscan settlement and more importantly, to an intact authentic Roman theatre... a la Greek style. The outside kind with the kind of acoustics that you read about in theatre textbooks (a whisper from the orchestra heard in the back row), but don't actually believe until you try it out for yourself. I did a bit of that chorus we did at theatre school from Ted Hughes' translation of Oedipus- you know the one- and yes, the acoustics ARE amazing and you can really whisper the whole thing and be heard in the back row. I'll try and send you some pics of the place so you can see for yourself. Late September was the time I visited Italy (my friend Zach whom you sat next to at my wedding and did one of the readings married an Italian girl back in 2004) and it was still balmy and beautiful but not muggy, drip drenching hot. A perfect time to be there.

    And I haven't even started on Rome. Ah Rome....!!! But that's another story...

    So envious. So would love to go back... sigh.

  6. I spent four months in Tuscany in my twenties. The most rewarding place I went to was San Gimignano, a small town on a hill, made rich by saffron. We stayed at a small hotel on the main street and opened the shutters in the morning onto a wonderful view of other hills. We climbed one of the tallest of the many towers built in the town. Look it up.

  7. We went last year. And we're going again next year. Which should tell you how much we loved it. (And I *hate* to fly.) You will love it, no matter what you do and no matter what you eat. The food is incredible everywhere.

    The hotel we stayed at in Rome was pricey, but SO worth it. I wanted to put the view in my pocket and bring it home with me.

    You'll get so much information and advice, you'll go into overload! The only thing I would say is this: if you can afford a few private tours, it will definitely save time and you'll get a much better history lesson than you do in a big group. The woman we hired in Venice was amazing. Let me know if you want any names, etc. --@NightOwly

  8. trip!! to italy!! food and wine and gelato and cats and cobblestones and statues and more gelato and menus that you don't even want to understand, just to taste it again and again. so happy for you ... too long ago for me to have any reco's for you (it was in my hostel years) but have a most wonderful time and you won't regret a penny i don't think.

  9. go gogogogogogogogogogo! Go Kizz Go!