Wednesday, November 19, 2014


What is it like to fulfill a dream?  It is invigorating, emotional, stimulating and fulfilling to say the very least. 
My dream of visiting Italy had been on my bucket list for over 15 years.  You can imagine when I saw Italy for the first time in the early morning sunrise from the airplane as we crossed over land to arrive in Venice, how teary eyed I was.  To finally get something that you always hoped and dreamed about was such an emotional ride for me.  I was so glad I had along my best friend and lover, my husband George, to share this dream with me.

What can I say about Italy that you haven’t already seen in pictures or heard about from friends or saw on some movie screen or PBS TV special.  Didn’t want to bore anyone with the same ole…same ole. That has been my dilemma about what to write about Italy.

So, I am going to share with you my most intimate, emotional and favorite things I experienced in Italy. 
First one is the most emotional:
It has to be Venice…..ahhh…VENICE!  It was the first stop on our trip and I can tell you it fulfilled every emotion I had.  It was beautiful, scenic, historic, glamorous, and the words go on and on.  My favorite emotion about this city was the feeling of love.  I loved this city without cars, bicycles, or motor scooters.  It made the city very quiet and intimate in my interactions of walking down the many small alleyways and over the many scenic canals.

  This city is trying so hard to stay afloat, literally; so I have to love their valiant efforts. It is sinking and our tour guide said that the main piazza was flooded 50 times this last winter and spring of 2014.  The normal had been about 10 times. 
Saint Mark's Piazza & church
I loved all the famous handmade masks for carnival season in almost every shop, all the gondolas that are so unique to just this city and the famous Moreno glass.

Then there were the canals with all the special secret alleyways and streets connecting them.  Loved that I could eat all the pastries and pizza I wanted because I walked so much.  Love this city and it will always have a special place in my memories and heart from now on.

Most intimate:
It had to be Florence.  As I walked through the Uffizi Gallery and the Academia Museum to see all the great artwork by all the famous painters I was able to get up close and intimate with each painting or sculpture.  These were things that I only saw in books and now I got to see the brushstrokes and chisel marks.  I so appreciated all the people through the years that have preserved these great masterpieces so I could one day enjoy them.  My favorite painting surprised me because I was unfamiliar with it.  Everyone goes there to see the Botticelli painting ‘Birth of Venus’.
Even in Sandro Botticelli's painting The Birth of Venus, the goddess's ...
But mine was a painting by Botticelli named ‘Allegory of Spring La Primavera’. I stood there as long as I could just gazing and taking in this magnificent painting that is so huge! 

This painting is to be read from right to left. In this master piece Zehyr (the Roman god with wings) is catching a nymph, Chloris, who he wishes to marry. When they marry, Chloris becomes Flora (goddess of flowers) and flowers spill out of her mouth. In the middle is Venus (goddess of love and beauty) with her son, Cupid, above her, shooting an arrow at Chasity (one of the three Graces). The 3 Graces are Chasity, Love and Pleasure. In the picture they are dancing. Chasity, the brunett in the middle, is gazing at Mercury, who is pushing the clouds away with a wand. Mercury is god of weather. Your eyes are drawn to Venus. She looks a lot like Virgin Mary.

 Pleasant surprise to a fabulous day but I ended with the naked man that I had been waiting to see all my life, Michelangelo’s David. 

But, I also enjoyed immensely the unfinished sculptures by him that were on display also.  I loved the intimate feeling of seeing a leg or arm emerge out of the stone with the chisel marks still on it….like it was being birthed from the marble.

Last….but not least….favorite things:
While we were in busy, noisy, energetic and historical Rome we loved the feeling of just being in a city that was the center of the world at one time in history. 

  Visiting the famous Coliseum and Forum gave me a feeling of really how old the city was. What a magnificent city it was in her heyday. 
Of course, the modern Roman's desired form of transportation

 Now we can ride on a subway to reach our destination and shop in stores like Versace, Louis Vuitton, Georgio Armani, Gucci, Hermes, etc, (no we didn’t shop in those stores!) and eat to our hearts content on every corner (yes we did), which gets me to my favorite things… and wine.  Yes, in that country we ate and drank our way across with such a smile on our faces and expanding waistlines be damned.
Just had to add this guy....what a fun guy with an accordion!

Everything we had there was delicious and well worth the Euros we paid for it.  I do believe that their pasta is so much better than US ones. That is why the only thing I brought back from Italy besides a tee-shirt and small motor scotter replica (one of my favorite things also) was a suitcase full of pasta and biscotti.  If I could have gotten frozen gelato in there I would have…..another favorite of mine.  My goal was to have gelato everyday and I think I did that except for one day.

Of course, I cannot forget Tuscany countryside as my favorite place I would love to live.  Unless George or I win the lotto that is never going to happen but a girl can dream.  Every movie, song, painting doesn’t do the green hillsides dotted with oil trees, vineyards and cedar trees justice when you see it in person.  Give me a villa in Tuscany and I think I could live like the ‘rich and famous’ even in a simple cottage.

So, there it is folks, Italy in a small nutshell.  My blog doesn’t do it justice and maybe I will continue to write about different things we saw and did there, but for now…I’m complete!  My wish for all of you is that you can also attain a dream and then I’d love to read or hear about it.  Dreams do come true!
Ciao, Peggy (plus George & Coco)