My Tuscan Adventure
In a shockingly small number of days, my family and I leave our home in California for a 3-month stay in one of my favorite cities in the world – Florence. The excitement is building among us all, as is the anxiety around getting ready, packing, and leaving the comfort of friends and family, familiar schools, stores and street signs for the great unknown. A trip like this forces you to stop and think about the mundane details of life. What things do I really need to bring, versus making do with the Italian versions? It’s exciting to think about the things I will discover that are far superior in their Italian version. Will I be able to find my way through the local markets? What will I make for dinner every night? Does Amazon deliver to my cottage surrounded by olive trees in a Florence suburb?
This trip also makes me think about what is really important. The truth is, we don’t need to bring much. We will be on this adventure together. My two brave daughters, ages 10 and 8, will bond with each other in ways that they don’t yet grasp. My husband and I, who will be apart more weeks than we are together, will learn to make the most of our time. We will all come out the other side, changed. How, exactly, we don’t yet know.
You could trace the roots of this trip back to the summer of 2009, when on a sabbatical from my former career I ventured to Florence for an art class with my two small daughters in tow. The six weeks were transformative. Before that trip, the kids did not know that flights longer than an hour existed. Before they tasted gelato, they thought that ice cream was the best dessert around. My younger daughter, aged 2 upon arrival and 3 by the time we got home, forgot that she had ever said any greeting other than “ciao!” When I arrived, the locals would politely respond to my broken Italian in English. By the time I left, the conversations were in Italian. Italy, and in particular Florence, stuck with me. It’s safe to say my days as a lawyer in a biotech company were numbered.
Later that same year, I met my very good friend and business partner, Brandy. We soon began our frequent trail runs together, during which we learned of our shared passion for Italy and our similar travel experiences. By 2012, Tuscan Travel Group was born.
Now, heading back to a city I love with people I love, I’m thrilled to also be traveling with an urgent business purpose. Brandy and I have managed to find the best properties in Tuscany throughout our visits over the past years… but we want a few more. Not too many. We want to know the houses and their owners well. We want to find the best tour guides and drivers. And of course, I want to travel around Tuscany with my little camera and document my adventures. Is the Chianti wine festival in Greve as wonderful as I imagine? Can I find the smallest, most out-of-the-way castle town in Tuscany? What is the scenery like from the Florence – Rome bullet train? Is Cortona just like “Under the Tuscan Sun?” I plan to get to the bottom of these questions, and to share it all with you.