The following 4 blogs will be brought to you by my nephew, Zander, who accompanied me to Italy to finalize trip details.  The day to day accounts brings his point of view of Tuscany, Aosta Valley, Sicily and Rome.  Enjoy.

I’ve only been to one country outside the U.S: Italy.  Pasta dishes are never the same and vary depending on what you put in them.  The same goes for Italy.  Each trip to Italia is spiced differently, too. I’ve been to Italy on bus tours, for weddings and as a student in Rome for two months. This trip varied in the sense that it wasn’t a vacation but it wasn’t business, at least for me. It was a strange combination that allowed me to see more about the “true side” of Italy.

Day One:  Day one starts with a battle with ticket machines. As we flew into Rome we quickly debarked to get on a tram to the train station but we were stopped dead in our tracks by the unnecessary difficulty purchasing a ticket using a vending machine. We obtained our tickets just in time, right before the tram left.  Maybe it was the rush of things or my excitement catching up to me, but it seemed like everyone in the whole city was at the train station that day adding to the frustration of our second sparring round with the ticket machine.  We arrive in Florence and take a bus tour, exchanged some money and had something to eat.  I guess this is where some of the “work” began because part of the trip was to evaluate food, service, and activities.  I remember it being good but it couldn’t have been too great since I can’t seem to remember exactly what I had. I remember eating pasta and I remember it had diced tomatoes, that’s it.  After lunch, we walked around a bit more enjoying the cool air, luggage in tow before going to the villa in Tuscany.  We arrived and now it’s getting dark. We were greeted by the manager and after the initial introduction, he brought us up to our rooms. Each of our rooms were beautiful with a queen sized bed, television, and very spacious bathroom. It has just enough charm to let you know you’re on vacation, but each room is unique and warm enough to make you think you’re staying at home.  After a bit of a rest, we headed to Dudda for dinner at a small little restaurant. Here, my aunt and I discovered the magic of sage. My meal, probably modest to most people’s expectations consisted of fried mushrooms (heavenly) and sautéed beef and mushrooms (I love mushrooms), while my aunt ate chicken and potatoes.  After indulging in our sage paradise, we parted back to the Villa for the night.

To be continued…