The Great Italy Adventure of 2019 - Tuscany

If I could visit Italy once a year it would be here.

Every July there is a Jazz and Wine festival but you never know the dates until 30 days before. So, you have to book a trip and remain flexible with your itinerary until you know the dates, and then race to book everything around it.

I have been here so many times it's a little ridiculous. I have fallen in love with Roberto and Lucilla, our hosts. They are like family. They have a beautiful 6-room villa in the heart of the historical center of the city. When we left, Robert said, "I almost feel guilty charging you to stay here." As a gift, his wife packed us 1.5 liters of freshly made olive oil and a jar of her homemade marmalade to take home. She said the Italians always say, "New olive oil, old wine."

The other perfect person of Tuscany is Luciano. He owns a restaurant and his wife (or whomever runs the kitchen) makes the most beautiful handmade pasta. It's called "pinci" and you pinch a little pasta dough and and hand roll it to make thick, delicious noodles.

Then there is the wine. Let's just say we "tasted" a lot of it, and sent home two cases of the best wine in the world, at least to us (and all of the world top wine reviewers).


The Great Italy Adventure of 2019 - Rome

Join us for a 20-hour road trip from Rome to Milan with awesome stops in between! First stop, Hotel Lord Byron in Rome, and a visit to the Borghese gardens and museum. The hotel is one of my favorites in Rome - it is close enough to trek to the center of Rome, and yet perched on a hill, in the beautiful neighboring Borghese Villa and Gardens. It's less expensive than staying in downtown Rome, and my favorite question they ask when you book a room is, "Madam, may I offer a car to pick you up at the airport?" Why, yes you may!

We had only one full day in Rome, and decided to visit the Galleria Borghese.

I purchased two tickets in advance which was really smart. It included a guided tour which was two hours of perfection. Our guide highlighted the best artists in the museum. Above is a marble sculpture by Canova that was commissioned by Camillo Borghese, the husband of Pauline Bonaparte, featured here. It was highly unconventional for a woman of such rank and social importance to be depicted nude, but Pauline was not conventional in any sense. The most amazing part of the sculpture was she seemed to be reclining on a very soft feather bed. How do you make marble look so soft? Hers’s another impressive sculpture we saw  by Bernini showing the softness of flesh. Mind boggling.

Here’s a close up of the backside of this sculpture:

The story of this sculpture was anything but soft - entitled the Rape of Prosperina - depicting Prosperina being abducted by the god Pluto and taken to the underworld. Does this look like marble or flesh? My mind was blown.

The next morning we rented a 5-speed Lancia and headed to Tuscany.


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