Another 26 hour day of travel, but we are home and safe! Luckily, I always forget this part. Actually, if someone gave me two tickets to Italy, I'd go back this week!
We had a 4:30 wake-up (Rome time) on Saturday morning, and left the amazing Fontana del Papa at 5:30. Assuntina insisted on getting up to make us coffee before we left. That was above and beyond all expectations (and greatly appreciated). We arrived at FCO by 6:30, returned our rental car and had time for another cup of coffee before our 9:30 flight to LAX. I slept much of the flight (with a Tylenol PM), and then it took 3 HOURS to get out of LAX (I HATE that airport)! We finally arrived home to a very happy Luigi at 7 p.m., just 23 1/2 hours later. We managed to stay awake until 9, then crashed. I was up and WIDE AWAKE by 1 a.m., and drinking coffee by 2 a.m.. Maybe a nap later...
This trip was one of our favorites ever! I prefer spending at least 3 weeks on a trip to Italy, but we must work within the budget and have limits of time off from work and reality. This journey gave us 15 nights in Italy and two travel days. We had three new destinations to explore, each for 5 days and nights, and each were wonderful for different reasons:
Ascoli Piceno is a jewel of a town. It was a perfect way to begin our trip and the highlights were the people, the piazze, and the passigiata!
The people were warm and friendly, the two piazze were alive with a wonderful energy, and the passigiata on the weekend nights were amazing. I could sit in a cafe and watch people all night! We also enjoyed the surrounding hill towns, and great food and wine!
During our next five days at Locanda Valle Nuova, we fell hopelessly in love with Le Marche! This view is right around the corner from Giulia's, and every curve of the road brings more spectacular scenery, tiny hill towns, glorious vistas, rivers, valleys and more wonderful food, wine and people. I could move here tomorrow!
Urbino and the Palazzo Ducale are fabulous, but the scenery, houses and farms on the hillsides, really stole our hearts. We also enjoyed the tiny towns we visited, and drove through. We covered a LOT of ground in our rental car each day, from the mountains to the sea, and we loved it all, and still had plenty of time to sit on Giulia's terrace with coffee or wine and relax. It was good for the soul.
Finally, after a LONG travel day through Le Marche, Umbria, Toscana, and finally Lazio, we reached the beautiful Fontana del Papa, (60 km from Rome) and our amazing hostess Assuntina and her delightful family.
Our days here were relaxing and fun. Assuntina is an amazing woman, and we became fast friends. She called me Palmina (my nonna's name), and we spent many hours talking and laughing together in Italian and English. We also spent a day in Lake Bolsena, a full day in Rome for a shopping fix, a morning at the market for 6 bags of flour straight from the mill at the Panificio, and lunch at one of the most beautiful and exclusive resorts in Italy. I took a whole afternoon off to paint on the terrace, and we met 5 wonderful girlfriends who came from Toronto for a week of cooking. Evenings were spent with lots of laughter, fabulous food, wine, and the warm attention of Assuntina and her daughter, Emma. What could be a better way to end our trip? It was PERFECT!
It is now 3:40 a.m., and I am WIDE AWAKE! I will be needing several of these to make it through Sunday!
I will go back to the beginning of our journey, and blog the details and photos from each day, so stay tuned...