Launching Italy 2021: It's Finally Here,

Finally – here we are launching Italy 2021! This has been a crazy rollercoaster ride. It’s similar to the one we were on years ago while obtaining our dual citizenship with Italy. But it is difficult to think about all that has been lost by this pandemic – and we know it’s not over yet.

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This pandemic has changed all our lives. I’m sure everyone has a gripping story of how things have changed for them. It’s not just about not being able to travel. Perhaps some reading this post have lost a loved one to this illness. Our hearts and prayers go out to you as I think how difficult it will be to recover from such loss – because of the reason, Covid. It’s truly complicated to think in this day and age, we have to cope with a worldwide pandemic. We’ve been lucky in our family. A few members come down with it, but thank goodness, no one had to be hospitalized. It’s still difficult to watch the news these days and see the numbers posted.

Difficult to be Excited

So here we are less than a week away leaving for Italy 2021. As difficult as this past year has been – we are excited to return to our other home, our other country. We are constantly checking for updates on flights and requirements from Italy. We know we will need a test prior to getting on our first flight from Phoenix to Dallas. From Dallas to Rome we should be good to go.

More than likely we will have to test when we arrive at Leonardo da Vinci’s Fiumicino International Airport in Rome. We either take it there or within 48 hours of arrival in Lucca. As of this post, we believe we will be able to take public transportation from the Rome airport to our apartment in Lucca. Of course, we will be ready to change according to the restrictions as they are updated by the Italian government.

An Amazing Surprise!

Brett, our youngest daughter, Ally’s boyfriend, (whom we’ve mentioned in our book several times) has not been traveling for business lately. In not traveling, he has a ridiculous amount of mileage points on American Airlines. The same airline we travel – lucky us. As a surprise gift, he upgraded our seats from Dallas to Rome to business class. We’ve never had the luxury of flying in business before and in one of those pods! You actually get to lie down! Stay tuned for photos on our social media. I personally am very excited but fear Brett will have created a problem for future travel – I may never want to go back to coach!

Launching Italy 2021: It's Finally Here,
photo credit: – Business class on AA-787

Plans for Italy 2021

On this trip, we will be staying in one town – Lucca in Tuscany. Travel when we are there will depend upon Italy’s current restrictions on traveling between regions. As of this post, you are permitted to travel within your region. This is why we chose Lucca. We have close friends in Florence, Prato, and Arezzo which we will be able to visit since all these cities are located in Tuscany. Map

Another reason we chose Lucca is its close proximity to the west coast of Italy. If travel restrictions are lifted, we would like to visit the region of Piedmont – one we have yet to explore. Piedmont, is a region of Italy bordering France and Switzerland that sits at the foot of the Alps. It’s known for sophisticated cuisine and wines such as Barolo. One of Gary’s favorite grapes! We plan to take the train up the coast with stops in Cinque Terre, Chiavari, Rapallo, and Genoa.

Tentative Travel Ideas

Talking about the towns along the western coast, we have a Facebook friend and fellow blogger, Marilyn in Chiavari. We missed the chance to meet her in November 2019 so hopefully, we will have another opportunity. We also have made friends with a sweet family we also talk about in the book who lives in Genoa. This was the family that owned the apartment in Scafati where we stayed. We love our Italian friends that we meet and stay in touch with, even when we are not physically in Italy.

Of course, we delight in the idea of returning to the Cinque Terre, which are the five little towns in Liguria, in the northwest of Italy. These towns are special; very special. I can’t believe I have not previously done a post specifically on them. Look for one soon!

Rapallo is supposed to be gorgeous and then from there up into Piedmont like I said, to do some exploring. Rapallo is situated on the Ligurian Sea coast, on the Tigullio Gulf, between Portofino and Chiavari. It is a town on the Italian Riviera coastline known for the hilltop Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montallegro, a pilgrimage site with sea views.

Other Travel for Italy 2021

Again, depending on any restrictions, we would like to explore the idea of purchasing a home in Italy. You know we’ve narrowed our five favorite towns to Arezzo, Spello, Conversano, Foligno, and Lucca. Although we both would love to call Florence “home.” So, technically, we have six towns. We’ve decided we would like to spend most of our time in Italy, so we shall see about a long-term rental or a purchase. Travel from Lucca then will be needed to see what real estate is available in our price range in these areas.

If possible, a trip to Licodia Eubea for a few weeks would be nice to plan. This town in Sicily is where we are now from as Italian citizens. The small hill town in southern Sicily stole our hearts when we were there in 2019. It would be nice to return and see our new friends there. The town of Modica is just a little south of Licodia Eubea and we would love to return and reconnect with our friend, Maurizio there too.

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In Italy in 2021, we plan to relax a bit more than on our last journey in Italy. All of 2019 we were busy writing the book as we traveled from town to town. It was time-consuming and a tad strenuous at times. I really would like us to immerse ourselves in the beautiful medieval town of Lucca. It has such a charming appeal, and who knows – our new home might be waiting for us right there!

We might actually work on another project while relaxing in Lucca. It’s always a possibility. You’ll have to stay tuned to find out more. Meanwhile, please stay in touch with us. We’d love to check our inbox and find some emails from you. If the travel ban lifts and you find yourself in Italy and would like to meet, let us know. If it’s possible, it’s one of our favorite things to do!


  1. I am so happy for both of you. Oh, how I wish I was able to go to Italy, too. I’m still holding out for this year. I can’t wait to see your photos of Lucca. We were there for one day and loved it. Stay safe and enjoy our beloved Italy!

  2. Buon viaggio!
    Sara’ bello di sentire delle vostre avventure.
    Speriamo tanto di andare in Italia a settembre. Se succedera’, forse possiamo incontrarci per un caffe’.
    Un bacione,
    Alba (dal

  3. I have really enjoyed Our Italian Journey and look forward to your great blog posts. Wishing you safe travels and many great adventures.

    1. Thank you Cindy! So special coming from you – please remember to leave a review on Amazon for the book. Would so appreciate it! Be safe and well. Both of you!!

  4. Buongiorno! Safe travels to you both. After you are settled in Lucca, please check out our favorite spot for cappuccino and other wonderful coffee drinks….Turandot….it is on the San Michele piazza. We visited Turandot frequently on our 2019 visit and became acquainted with a young man named Marco who worked there. He and his older brother (I don’t recall the brother’s name) both worked at Turandot. We initially met them during our very quick visit to Lucca in 2018. When we were in Lucca for 2 weeks in 2019, we truly enjoyed our time talking with Marco. We have wondered about both of the young men over this past year and hope they are healthy and safe. Turandot is a great corner to people watch. Looking forward to hearing about your adventure. Arrivederci!!

    1. Thank you Jackie for the comment. We will stop at Turandot and see if it’s open and if Marco is there. I Will let you know. We walked to the grocery store and we noticed so many places are closed. Don’t know if permanent but we have a project in the works for this visit about what Italy looks like at this time – first hand.

      1. Buena sera Ilene and Gary! I just finished your book and am happy to see that you’ve made it back to Lucca. I’m very curious about the state of things in Italy now. We have been many times but had to cancel our spring 2020 trip due to covid-19. We are now starting to construct a trip for April 2022 h I ing that things wi be ready by then. I hope you have safe travels and that things open up between regions so you can do your thing…travel! Thanks for the enjoyable travel vicariously!

        1. Thanks so much for the nice comment! We enjoy receiving feedback. We will be reporting through social media, blog posts, and a special project. Please, if you would, leave a review of the book on Amazon? It will help in our ratings!! So appreciate it! Please stay in touch through email and let us know about your travels!! Ciao!

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