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Report 904: Family , Food and Wine - Italy 2005

By Ryan P from Boulder, CO, Summer 2005

Trip Description: May 29 - June 12, 2005 Two weeks of enjoying family, food and wine in Italy

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Cinque Terre, Lazio, Rome, Tuscany, Umbria

Categories: Family/Friends; Foodie Trip; Shopping; Sightseeing; Walking/Hiking; Wine Trip; Independent Travel; 3-4 people

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Page 1 of 7: The Beginnings of a Trip

Introduction

Let me preface this trip report with a couple of things. First, I am not and almost never claim to be a professional writer. Second, I can’t guarantee that you will be interested in hearing about the every last detail of my trip so by all means, skim as necessary. Third, this trip report, like many things in my life, was procrastinated. Unlike some who write while in the midst of the trip, mine is almost four months after the fact, so the stories will probably be much more romanticized than I might have felt at the time (isn’t that always the case with vacations, though?). One last thing, this is my first trip report, so gimme a break. Ok, let’s get started.

The Dream

This trip began as a pipedream in Steamboat Springs, CO. My wife, Adrine, I, and our two friends Joe and Megan were up doing a weekend summer trip to a part of Colorado we had never been to. We all moved out to Boulder, CO just a couple of years prior but had not yet made it to Steamboat (what a shame!). While there we were waiting to go to breakfast and ended up stopping into a ceramic shop that specialized in Italian wares. While in the shop we all talked about how nice it would be to go to Italy to eat and drink (our favorite pastimes). We spied a book that was on the shelf, “The Food and Wine Lovers Tuscany” and right then and there we decided we would do it, we’d plan a trip to Italy. Joe, who is an amazing chef, made the comment “We need to go there so we can cook with the lemons.” Now I know a fair amount about the great things to see, eat and drink in Italy, but never had I heard anything about the lemons (other than limoncello). Whatever reasoning he wanted to embrace, I would support. I had a different reason for going, the wine.

Next came the planning. Second only to actually going on the vacation, I enjoy the planning. I love to look into the fun and interesting places and try to find great things to do. While in the past this meant mainly guidebooks, this time I really wanted to find some out of the way places and really explore the towns more as locals did. I found Slow Travel and was immediately home. Here were all these people who loved to do just those types of things, all sharing their experiences online. Bingo! I spent hours doing searches, reading threads, reading reviews, trying to get a handle on what our trip would look like. I used the following books/sites to help in my research:

  • SlowTrav.com
  • Tripadvisor.com
  • Venere.com
  • The Rough Guide to Tuscany & Umbria
  • Eyewitness Travel Guides (Florence & Tuscany, Umbria)
  • Rick Steves Italy (Good for Cinque Terre info)

Being a Slow Travel rookie, we didn’t quite adhere to the “full week” principle but we had some good reasons not to which I think were valid. I will endeavor to continue to try to “Slow” my trips down in the future. Baby steps.

As our trip planning got serious (actually starting to make reservations and such) we learned that our friends Joe and Megan wouldn’t be joining us. While this was disappointing, we knew that we would be able to taste Joe’s cooking with lemons on another trip (we plan to go back again multiple times!). Shortly after, we also got some great news that Adrine’s parents would be joining us for the first week of the trip! Enough with the pre-trip planning, let’s get to the fun stuff!

Actually, before I get into the details, I thought I would give a summary of the locations we went to so you could go directly to a particular area of interest.

  • Velletri – Countryside outside of Rome, 1 day in
  • Rome - 2 nights
  • Cinque Terre – Manarola - 2 nights
  • Florence – Oltrano - 2 nights
  • Siena – 1 night
  • Chianti Country – Vagliagli about 15 min north of Siena - 3 nights
  • Umbria – Outside Bevagna - 3 nights
  • Rome – Night on the town before flight home - 1 night

Ok, here we go…

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