About Us

About Us

This blog is our way of sharing our journey and hopefully, in the process, help others when traveling. Here you will find information about places to visit along with tips for traveling. We have also included our favorite restaurants and places to stay in many of the cities we have visited, just in case you happen to be visiting.

We met in New York while working for the same company. Gary has two amazing children and we have two daughters together. We have a blended family that means the world to us and have a total of nine beautiful grandchildren who all live in Arizona! We have been married for almost 39 years and have remained best friends.

In anticipation of our citizenship, we sold our home back in January 2016, along with most of our possessions. We downsized so much that everything we own fits into four large green Rubbermaid tubs! It’s funny how much stuff you accumulate and how much you don’t need.



Passion & Obsession

We both love to cook so occasionally we will share a recipe we think you might enjoy. Food is a passion of ours along with wine. When we go to a restaurant in Italy, we always ask for “Mezzo litro, vino della casa rosso,” which means half-liter house red wine.

Ilene’s obsession is with the wooden doors throughout Italy. From time to time, you will find posts just on these charming architectural pieces of art in towns we visit. When photographing a door, I often think of why the color was chosen, the style, details, and accents?


Dual Citizenship

It has been a true journey through mounds of paperwork and a great deal of time (did I mention money too?) Our initial application at the Los Angeles Italian Consulate was in November 2015 where we provided documents with translations, apostilles, etc. After a period of time with no communication, we received an email that we had to amend birth certificates as the consulate required names to be exact all across all our documents. Gary’s father’s name was “Americanized” on his birth certificate which didn’t exactly match the name on his father’s birth certificate. (There is more about this in our posts on Dual Citizenship.) The citizenship process is not easy and if you are interested in obtaining yours; perhaps we can help guide you, answer some questions, or point you in the right direction. Please feel free to email us ouritalianjourney@gmail.com.

Italian Citizenship – Finally!

On September 11, 2018, Gary was notified that he is an Italian citizen through JS (Jure Sanguinis – bloodline.) Finally, no more documents to provide or amend! I was able to get my citizenship through Gary (JM – marriage) as we were married before 1983. We received our passports and are currently on our one-year journey! It took us nine days short of three years to obtain.




We’d love it if you would share our blog with a friend or family member that loves Italy or will be traveling there soon.


More About Us…

Our First Two Trips While Waiting for Citizenship:

First 90-Day Trip

We were in Parma, Italy spending 90-days on our US passports waiting for that email. That was August-October 2016. We traveled in northern Italy by train discovering small towns we had not visited before. We enjoyed the sights of Verona, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna, Rimini, San Marino, and Venice. Read more First 90-Day Trip

Second 90-Day Trip

We returned from this trip and went back to Italy February-April 2017, again for 90-days. We started out in Bari (for one day) and wound up in Florence for the entire trip. This was such an amazing adventure as we were at the center of everything. A 2-minute walk to the Ponte Vecchio and down the block from Piazza della Signoria with the Palazzo Vecchio. Please check out all the posts on the towns and events we got to experience this trip such as Montalcino, Lucca, Siena, and the wine region of Chianti!  You can read more Second 90-Day Trip



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Hope you share your stories with us and keep up with ours!



Gary & Ilene on the streets of Florence, Italy, ouritalianjourney.com

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