"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." – Marcel Proust
A big Brooklyn Buon Giorno to you! I returned Sunday night and have been aglow with remembrances of my Italian journey ever since. In my mind I still hear the cadences of the language and feel the Tuscan fall breeze. The photo above is sunset atop Lucca's medieval walls, perfectly preserved all about the town; they were used as a roadway until converted to a tree-lined pedestrian walkway where locals stroll, jog, and bike with wonderful views into the small, enchanting city and across picturesque mountains. Lucca and Sienna both captured my heart with their narrow streets and astonishingly well-preserved history with medieval structures found incorporated into its modern buildings.
A top highlight was a tour to the top of the Carrara marble quarries with breathtaking views across beautiful, high peaks of marble mountains as workers carved into that precious, gleaming marble. You must see this for yourself the next time you're in Tuscany because how this marble was mined by hand from such heights and brought down with oxen to sea level is incomprehensible as you stand there.
After participating in the Buy Tuscany conference in Lucca, I joined a group of 11 other travel professionals as we toured Siena plus charming Tuscan towns of Pienza, Torrita di Siena, and Montepulciano. We visited the thermal pools at Chianciano Terme and spent a cozy night in Chiusi before I returned to Florence for a luxurious hillside respite at Villa Cora and swooned my way through an art historian-led tour of Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. I experienced too much to share here now, but let's just say when you're ready for your next trip to Tuscany, we have a lot to talk about!
I'm happy to relay how safe I felt during my 10 days in Italy. Everyone is masked indoors unless eating or drinking, and to enter any museum, attraction, restaurant, or hotel Americans must show the CDC vaccine card since we don't have the Green Pass, which Italians must present. Coincidentally, the day I arrived was the first day a country-wide vaccine (or frequent testing) mandate went into effect for all employees - the strictest rules of any EU nation. The Italians decided if business patrons were required to be vaccinated it only made sense that workers should be too. It felt extraordinary traveling in Europe again and to feel at ease doing so, thanks to the precautions being taken throughout Italy. You get used to having your CDC card on hand and masking up when required. Also, Americans must test negative before returning to the U.S. too, and Villa Cora in Florence even arranged for a doctor to perform my rapid test right in the hotel on the day before my departure. I recommend Italy to everyone right now!
And please check out the newest videos of my hotel visits across Tuscany at:
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This is a GREAT time to visit Italy - when the crowds are more sparse and you can enjoy all the wonders of Italy during this unique, compelling time, a fleeting time. I'd love to help you navigate Italy, so let's chat!
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