When we crossed into Italy, I was quietly briming with excitement. Two times, my half-Italian husband had planned to visit here, and both times it was not to be. The last was in 2008, two weeks after our wedding, when I came to Italy for the first time with my college friend, Deb Mckew. She had organized a trip with about 10 writers, and I was to work with a group of painters. We would co- host a creative retreat using the Tuscan countryside as our inspiration. John decided to remain a New Haven, dutifully: Jake, the dog, work obligations and family stuff.

The other was when he planned a trip for his dad to see his Italian family in Cusano Mutri , but with small children, he passed the adventure on to his younger brother Paul. SO now, knowing a bit of what was to come, I felt like a child myself. “Look at the different land, architecture, colors!!! Palm trees! Terracotta! The aborigine mountains as a backdrop. Oh my God, these people can’t drive! That tunnel – will we ever come out???? We are so high up! Holy shit!”

This was our crossover from France to Italy. (Donc, étant français des deux côtes de ma famille et parlent assez bien, J’adore la France.) But the magic of Italy, the colors, the passion of the people and the palate is not to be surpassed. And of course, the history. To think that this country ruled the world for about a thousand years. Our 1878 house is brand spanking new by these standards, as is our country.

Tired from the hair-rising drive, we arrived in Pisa. I will state here that we are traveling for 4 months with all of our accommodations booked, but with no knowledge of rules of parking within city walls, entering buildings afer dark, or whether our hosts spoke a word of English. Most of our stays are in B&Bs. Also, Pisa was a way point to break up a  760 mile long drive to Sorento. We expected it to be touristy and bland. How wrong! Perhaps because we were there in Early April, we found the city enchanting, the restaurants lovely, authentic and reasonably priced, and the tower was pretty darn awesome!  The best of all though, was our cozy, book -laden B&B with lounge areas so divine that we stayed in one night and just sat and read. B&B de Camilla.

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