♥ The Road Home – Back to Reality?

Let's Go to Italy Together!♥ Reflections on My Italian Journey ♥
September 4 – October 27, 2016Photo: Victoria De Maio

 “Where you are is who you are. The further inside you the place moves, the more your identity is intertwined with it. Never casual, the choice of place is the choice of something you crave.”
– Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun

Let's Go to Italy Together!

Four regions: Liguria, Tuscany, Puglia and Sicily
53 perfectly remarkable days
Over 50 cities and towns including the birth towns of my grandparents (nonni) in  Tuscany and Sicily
6,000 photos taken
Almost 200 miles walked
Planes, trains, vans, automobiles (yes, I drove in Italy for the first time!) and a sailboat ride
15 hotels, agriturismi and B&B’s
Two fabulous tours including the successful inaugural tour in Liguria and the fifth in Puglia with fun, fun, fun guests and amazing tour partners…and…

Let's Go to Italy Together! Innumerable superb and simply spectacular historic sites, cathedrals, piazzas and more
Countless espressos, glasses of vino, gelati, and at least 7 cannoli
Oodles of hugs and extraordinarily emotional and magical moments

And, first and foremost? The warm and wonderful people, people, people! 

Let's Go to Italy Together!♥ Leaving ♥

“If I lived here,…I have a feeling this place would take me.”
– Frances Mayes, A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller

I know I’m not in Italy anymore… an overpriced 4.50 euro cappuccino (which is also horrible – too hot, too weak, too frothy), surrounded by the low guttural growl of German instead of the soft melodious murmur of Italian, and it’s cold and drizzly outside…

No, I’m not in Italy, I’m in Frankfurt’s airport waiting for my connection to Los Angeles…the long exhausting road home…the road to post-vacation blues…Photo: Victoria De Maio

The dream realized. All of the planning, organizing, agonizing, reviewing, checking and double checking every detail, every reservation – flights, trains, connections, accommodations…resulting in? Perfection!

A wonderful collage of group travel with my tours coupled with independent/solo and travel with friends…

Reconnecting and new connections established. Delights to all of the senses and the full gamut of emotions – heartache, frustration, gratitude, appreciation, wonder, joy, delight…you name it!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Digging Deeper

“For us to go to Italy and to penetrate into Italy is like a most fascinating act of self-discovery… back, back down the old ways of time. Strange and wonderful chords awake in us, and vibrate again after many hundreds of years of complete forgetfulness.”
–D.H. Lawrence

I’ve written before about my two year quest for dual citizenship and how it triggered returning to my roots and my reflections on being raised Italian American. This self reflection has occasioned deeper understanding and fully embracing of self, the self I have always been.

These reflections took on an even more profound appreciation and recognition with visits, not only to the small towns in Tuscany and Sicily where my nonni were born and that they left to make the journey to America but, to enlightening visits to two museums (in Genoa and Lucca, both of which I will write about in future posts) documenting the millions of Italians who also courageously took that voyage at the turn of the century.

The Immigration Museum in Genoa...

The Immigration Museum in Genoa…

I never knew my grandparents. Two had passed before I was born, one lived and passed in New York, and one passed when I was a small child. I only have a few black and white photos…

But visiting their birthplaces and these museums added a new dimension, a new reality to what their lives were like, the obstacles they overcame, the hope and courage that inspired and drove them to make that difficult voyage. I am in awe of them…

Oh, how I would love to have just a few minutes to share my profound gratitude to them and to both parents who have passed as well…to embrace and thank them for the from the depths of being for the immeasurable gift of who I am …a very lucky gal…

Let's Go to Italy Together!Betwixt and Between

Feeling neither “here nor there” in the past, I can say that, with each return to Italia my sense of feeling more at home there than here incrementally shifts… And yet I have no illusions on what living there is like and, like any relationship, one must be realistic and accepting, warts and all.

Beppe Severgnini says it best in his must read, 
La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind:

“First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Your Italy and our Italia are not the same thing. Italy is a soft drug peddled in predictable packages, such as hills in the sunset, olive groves, lemon trees, white wine, and raven-haired girls. Italia, on the other hand, is a maze. It’s alluring, but complicated. It’s the kind of place that can have you fuming and then purring in the space of a hundred meters, or in the course of ten minutes. Italy is the only workshop in the world that can turn out both Botticellis and Berlusconis.”

Let's Go to Italy Together!♥ So, for all of the allure and beauty there is the challenge and frustration…but my passion, roots and that craving, that irresistible attraction calls…

I guess it’s a love and heart calling because, for me, Italy will always personify la dolce vita.  And, for that, I feel grateful and determined to return again…soon…

Let's Go to Italy Together!Over the coming months I’ll be writing and sharing more about My Italian Journey 2016 as I plan my 2017 travels back in spring and fall…perhaps you’ll be joining me? I hope so…


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About PostcardZ from Victoria

Wish you were here! I love sharing my passion for travel and insights I've learned along the way. Enjoy my travel tips and inspiration with a lighthearted twist! Join me as we create a forum for sharing experiences and information! Enjoy my newly updated & edited book, "Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style!" with MORE great TipZ and then, let's go to Italy together!
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8 Responses to ♥ The Road Home – Back to Reality?

  1. Very good post, Victoria…and you have certainly experienced a lot in these past weeks. months!! I’m happy I was able to share the Sicily part of your Italian journey. You are so right when you write about the different aspects of Italy, “warts and all.” Nothing is perfect, but we keep wanting to be there, don’t we?

    • Grazie, Margie. Sometimes we have to look back to really appreciate all that we’ve done and seen and all that we’ve experienced. Sharing Sicily was indeed so special :D.
      Indeed, despite her flaws, Italy has our hearts!

  2. Paula says:

    Wow and double wow! What an incredible journey you had ….. even one of those experiences would have left me exhausted! So glad I joined the ride with you in Puglia – such an amazing place, but the people will stay in my memory always. And that introduction to those people is all due to your hard work In teaming up with wonderful local knowlege.
    I hope that anyone who is toying with the idea of joining you next year, makes the decision to go! They definitely will not regret it! ❤️🇮🇹🍷🍕🧀🏺🍧☕️💃🏽

    • Paula,
      You’re so generous and I’m absolutely thrilled that you (and Rose!) joined us in Puglia. I’m forever sharing about it with anyone who’ll listen but it’s really the enthusiasm of those who join us that says it all! (The photos don’t hurt!)
      Thank YOU, Paula. Looking forward to another Italian journey together!

  3. Cheryl Levine says:

    Hi Victoria (Hi Paula!)

    I have been telling everyone about our wonderful trip to Puglia. Each day was more magical than the one before! Love looking at your photos.

  4. Wow! I didn’t realize you went to that many cities, you sure covered a lot of ground. Amazing. And what a journey it was – thrilled for you Victoria that you were able to fill in more of the pieces.

    • Rae,
      Honestly I didn’t realize the amount of territory covered until I got back! It wasn’t my goal or intention, it just unfolded that way and it was fabulous…
      Hoping you are healing and dreaming of your next trip?

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