My Love Affair with Italia!

Culture, Landscape, Cuisine

Casa al Vento in Gaiole, Chianti of Tuscany

Story and Photos by Karen Granelle, Holistic Lifestyle Blogger

I have been dreaming of going to Italy for over 25 years.  Now that our kids are both away at college, my husband and I decided to go for it and help soften the blow of the “Empty Nest” syndrome and celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary by going to Italy.  So a couple of weeks after the kids were settled in their dorms, we headed off.

What I experienced during my trip to Italy was an array of continuous splendor for all of the senses…

There was so much to absorb and enjoy.  I can understand why people love to visit this beautiful land of

  • Ancient History
  • Renaissance paintings and sculpture
  • Rolling landscapes
  • Stunning water views
  • Friendly smiling faces
  • and of course – the food and wine! 

The simple recipes bursting with flavor of fresh local ingredients.  The melodic sound of the Italian language was like listening to a beautiful symphony.  I couldn’t get enough. I had to record people speaking so that I wouldn’t forget the sound when I went back to my boring English speaking life.  I was so pleasantly surprised at how many people we dealt with at the hotels and restaurants that knew how to speak English.  We visited several cities and stayed in several different hotels, and each hotel welcomed us with open arms and with such warmth and friendliness.  Each person was more beautiful than the next – on the inside as well as on the outside.  They all dressed impeccably and looked  like they just stepped out of a magazine.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the book “Eat, Pray, Love”  by Elizabeth Gilbert and how she was gushing about the Italians.  I felt like her!  And also the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun”.  I kept thinking about the main character when she opens the shutters of the apartment she purchased in Tuscany and marvels at the amazing landscape.  I felt like her too!  I always dreamed of going and experiencing these things and I finally did it!

I am only about 25% Sicilian (my maternal grandmother’s parents were born in Sicily) but it was very gratifying to see where my grandmother came from. Even though we didn’t see Sicily, I got to see “her people” and I felt a sense of belonging.  So many people we saw looked just like family members and Italian friends of ours.  Several people attempted to speak to me in Italian, assuming that I could speak the language because of my features.   I wish I could have.  It makes me want to learn the language now and go back!

This trip was nourishment for the soul.  Getting out of our daily routines and surroundings and experiencing another culture, another way of life reminded us how much we appreciate nature and respect ancient history, art and new experiences with new people. It was rejuvenating and intoxicating and left us eager for new travel experiences!

It’s so important to have these experiences in your life.  Whether it’s in another country or right in your own neighborhood.  Get out and experience new surroundings and new activities.  Immerse yourself into another culture or even your own culture.  Learn as much as you can about your ancestors and where you came from.  It will help you to feel a sense of belonging to know where you came from and will help you to appreciate the foundation of your family roots.

Happy travels!


Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”


Sculpture, David, Michelangelo
Michelangelo’s “David” Sculpture





Photos and story by Karen Granelle, Holistic Lifestyle Blogger

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