For almost 40 years we’ve traveled to Italy and for the longest time, I had a firm travel resolution: I would see as much as I could see in the time we had. I didn’t want to miss anything. In reality I missed quite a bit. When we took our kids on an extended trip in 2000 to let them truly experience Italy, we threw that resolution out the window and have had a much richer travel experience ever since.
I still hesitate whenever we contemplate a trip to a city we’ve previously visited—do we really need to see the same place again?
The answer, I found out is, “yes.”
We’ve been lucky enough to be able to return to many of the same cities and regions in Italy many times over the years and part of me was afraid of being disappointed upon going back. What I neglected to consider is that returning to those cities for repeated visits is an opportunity to slow down and stop thinking that this could be our only chance to visit. On those repeat trips, I didn’t feel compelled to try to pack an entire region into a two week visit. I didn’t skip out on smaller and more intimate experiences out of fear that I’d miss some of the top attractions if I did so. Instead, we took our time and fully explored each place we visited rather than rushing off to a new one.
On many repeat trips, we’ve revisited some of the same places we’d previously explored, but we also ventured into totally new places as well. Getting to parts of the regions and cities we missed previously opened up a whole new side of each destination, and many new friendships. As an example, on a recent trip to Lago di Garda I had been following the story of a young vintner, Daniele, who had returned from a successful career as a banker in Paris, to his grandfathers villa 30 minutes from the lake. Villa Calicantus is the smallest winery of the Bardolino wine area: 1.2 hectares (3 acres) of vineyards surrounded by olive trees and small woods, on the top of one of the highest hills of the Bardolino Classico area. To Daniele, Villa Calicantus was a dream, a dream made of passion, respect and love for the land: his dream is to demonstrate that it is possible to produce a “vin de garde” respectful of all the characteristics of the Bardolino wine. I reached out to Daniele asking if we could drop by to visit, he was thrilled and invited us one late afternoon about 5pm. When we arrived it was as if we were family, he took us on a walking tour of his vineyard, into his ancient cellars, where his grandfather had aged his wines, to barrel taste the wines. He took us on a tour of the bedrooms on the third floor of the villa, all the furniture from when his grandfather lived there, all beautiful period pieces. We spent the rest of the evening on his loggia drinking his wines, eating breads Daniele had made himself, salumi and cheeses that his neighbors had made . . . a truly wonderful experience. To this day we stay in touch and Daniele says if we ever want to come and help with the harvest, we're welcome to stay at his villa.
It would be a shame to think that we’d really experienced Italy just because we’d been to Rome, Florence, or Venice.
So for 2017, we’re simply resolving to say yes to as many opportunities as we can. Or put another way: focus on making new memories.
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Tony Moglia's grandparents immigrated from Italy in the early 1900's. He's a dual citizen who has traveled extensively throughout Italy for 40 years. He's happily married to a vibrant dancer who together have two children and three grandchildren. Tony has dreamed of Villas of Italy since his first trip to Italy, and now he shares his dream with you.