(This travel memoir will appeal to those who love travel in general and
In the early 1990s, my husband and I visited our daughter, who was studying in Florence. We returned to
Your book makes a great guide for couples traveling to
For me and my husband Al, these trips coincided with our empty nest years and gave us a new way of connecting. These years were a good time to share travel experiences, just the two of us together. And even when we came home, anything about
It can be hard to travel for an extended period with anyone, but with one’s spouse, it’s a particular challenge to spend two or more weeks in little hotel rooms planning what to do each day.
One key for us is instead of driving, which is more stressful, for both Al, as driver, and me, as navigator, we take trains and buses. Al likes the challenge of figuring out the schedules and I like not having to worry about us getting lost!
Traveling as a couple definitely has its moments of arguments and disagreements, since we are spending so much time together and have to make so many plans and decisions every day, but we’ve gradually learned how to blend our differences as we travel around Italy. Our disagreements are fewer and we have enjoyed every one of our trips. The special travel moments we experience together are memories we can share when we get home.
Are there films that have influenced your writing, travels and how you look at the world?
We like lots of movies, but once we started going to Italy, we began to pay more attention to Italian movies and Italian subjects in movies. We saw an early Fellini film that was inspired by his life in
The year after we saw the Sistine Chapel, I watched Charlton Heston play Michelangelo in “The Agony and the Ecstasy” and the year after we went to Assisi, we watched “Brother Sun, Sister Moon,” about the life of St. Francis. And we will watch any old and new American or British movies filmed in Italian cities or countryside.
So, I guess our film watching has been inspired by our travels in Italy rather than the other way around.
Tell us about the people of
In some ways, it doesn’t feel appropriate for me to describe Italians as a group since we are outsiders. But from our perspective as visitors, we can say that hospitality is a strong national characteristic. When you walk into a restaurant for dinner, you are greeted immediately “Buena sera!” and enthusiastically offered a table. If we don’t understand something on the menu, waiters try to explain. We have even been taken to the kitchen to be shown the fish or piece of meat in question. We are never rushed through our meal and feel welcome until we ask for the check.
It also seems to me that, for all of the honking horns and rushing cars in the cities, Italians are in less of a hurry than we are. Life is savored for itself. The traditionally long meals are a sign of that. Most stores still close from to . When they reopen, they stay open until . The tradition of the passeggiata in the evenings, of just walking with others for enjoyment, is still almost universal. Italians also seem to be very family and community-minded. They like to be together.
Italy is modern in lifestyle, but very different from the U.S. in tangible ways. Takeout food, for instance, is still more likely to be a sandwich in a piece of waxed paper than Styrofoam-packaged meals.
While Italians like nice things, there is less materialism. When we come home, I often think that Americans could learn a lot from Italians, especially how to enjoy life more simply.
How different is
We love to travel and have been to other countries in the European Union. We always have a good time and are glad we went, but still like
One year, we crossed the border into Italy after two weeks in Spain and southern France. While waiting for our train connection at at night, we ate delicious pasta and red wine in the cafeteria of the small station. The small staff chatted with us and one another in an upbeat way that was different from the other countries we visited. Maybe it’s our familiarity, but in
Your book came out last year. Do you think that 2009 is a good year to go to
This year will be interesting. We’ve noticed in the last several years, tourist crowds have been bigger, even in the off season of early spring when we like to travel. It’s good for
Prices might be down a bit with less demand. The euro is less expensive now compared to our dollar last year. 2009 could be a great year to go.
I’m looking forward to hearing the Italian take on
You now live in
We moved to Houston in the early 1980s from the Northeast and those were two of the things we liked the best. The cultural diversity and the number of internationals working here gave us new perspectives. Being in
By air, we can get to most places with minimal stopovers. Lately, we like to travel through New York directly to our European destination. It’s nice to get the stopovers out of the way on this side of the
How can readers learn more about you and your book?
Please visit my website, www.passeggiataitalia.com
Thank you for visiting my blog today and I hope you will pick up a copy of the book. It's a great read for anyone who wants to learn more about one of the most beautiful countries in the world.