2019 has been a very special year for us and Our Italian Journey. After waiting years to obtain Italian citizenship, our dream came true in September 2018. Waiting for this process to entirely unfold was difficult at times. Our spirits could be compared to that of a roller-coaster ride and it was very frustrating. But the thrill of finally holding the maroon-colored passports made it all worth it. After Thanksgiving 2018, we headed for Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona to begin our year of living in Italy.
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A Brief Look at Our Itinerary – 2019
November – December – January – February
We began our journey in Rome and stayed there for three months. Looking back, it was two months too long. We had been to Rome several times but usually just passed through. We thought we would really need some extra time to enjoy exploring Rome more deeply – especially around Christmastime. I think if we hadn’t already paid for our apartment, we would have moved on but perhaps our feelings were also due to the cold, rainy weather. I believe it was in Rome we decided we would become Italian snowbirds and fly home to Arizona for the winter. Our post highlights Months 1 & 2
March – April
It was during these months we discovered the region of Puglia located at the heel of the peninsula. This was a new location for us and it was charming. Conversano was our home base and we loved every exciting moment of discovering Puglia, an area that we have never seen before. Our post highlights Months 3 & 4
We enjoyed May in Florence with our youngest daughter, Ally, and her boyfriend, Brett. It was wonderful to see “our Italy” through their eyes. Gary would probably say that his highlight of May was the gift from Brett of driving a Lamborghini Huracán through the streets of Bologna! We had many special days during this one month! Our post highlights Months 5 & 6
Halfway through 2019, June brought us down to the south of Naples and Sorrento to a little town called Scafati. There is not much to tell about the town but we did have the best Italian experience we could have ever asked for. It was a moment we had been hoping to have for a while in Italy.
As the weather began to get hot, we were in Foligno in July. This town in Umbria was a delightful find and a great home base for visiting Umbria on the train line. We got to visit many towns while in our home base of Foligno. Our post highlights Months 7 & 8
August was spent in the beautiful medieval town of Arezzo. Here we made some wonderful Italian friends in the local stores and participated in a medieval tradition called the Giostra del Saracino. During this month, we also made some new American friends with the visit to Orvieto and meeting Susan and Ed from Arizona. Our post highlights Months 9 & 10
September – October
Heading up north, we spent these two months in the beautiful city of love, Verona. Here we easily took the train up to Innsbruck, Austria, and the Alps and several northern Italian towns and views of the Dolomites. This was an area we had not yet explored and it was simply marvelous. My best friend Sue and her family came to Italy and we met them for a cooking class in Milan and then enjoyed several days together on Lake Como. This month also brought us more new American friends from Kentucky. Barb and Tom were visiting Venice and joined us for a day in Verona.
Our last month was enjoyed in the beautiful town of Lucca. The weather was quite rainy but we didn’t let it impede our exploration of some seaside towns. We love this medieval walled town with all its charm. Our post highlights Months 11 & 12
When leaving Italy after our year on November 26th, we headed for Dublin, Ireland to once again meet up with Ally and Brett. Neither Gary nor I had been to Ireland before so it was a unique experience for us. The food, pubs, and scenery were such a change – and was amazing. Spending Thanksgiving here with them was special. Watch for a post on this trip coming soon.
New and Old Friends
Don’t get me wrong, the sites and experiences of all the towns we visited this year were amazing. The new wines we got to taste, the fresh fruits of the season we got to enjoy, the medieval traditions we got to witness all were unforgettable. But it is the people we have met along the way, new and old friends that made our year extra special. All these people enrich our lives and now is a time to reflect on these friendship treasures.
We have already made plans to meet up with Susan and Ed as they live about 28 miles from where we are staying right now in Arizona. Looking forward to reconnecting with them shortly after Christmas. We received a Christmas card from Barb and Tom from Kentucky and they even included meeting us as one of their highlights during recent their trip to Italy. It is always about enjoying our friends Sue and Steve from New York whenever we can get together. After 40+ years of friendship, it was a special treat to meet and enjoy your company in Italy.
For Gary and me, it is the people that we meet along the way that makes our journey special. Antonella and Francesca are two special Italian women that we enjoy and treasure their friendship. Seeing them several times this year in Italy was such a treat. To our wonderful family in Florence; Angelina, Giuseppe, Maria, and Fernando that are always in our hearts and prayers.
What’s Ahead for Our Italian Journey?
There are so many things in the works that we will leave it for our next post. Again, 2019 has been incredible and unforgettable. We have shared a little bit with you in our highlighted posts but we wish we could share our entire experience, our year of joy. Perhaps we can.
Reuniting with our children and grandchildren has been wonderful and heartwarming. Some grandkids have grown and changed so much and we have loved every moment of the hugs and kisses. We both agree that we don’t think while most are still so young that we could be away from them again for another year. We have been busy in December purchasing a car and getting caught up with friends.
This year was a dream of a lifetime. It fulfilled a promise Gary and I made to each other once we were to ever achieve Italian citizenship. We know people have experienced living in a foreign country for a year. We’ve read about it in some of our favorite books and have befriended these amazing people. Now we both know the feeling they shared. For those that are still going through the dual citizenship process; hang in there. It is worth the effort.