Reflections of My Travels to Italy

Change.  The only constant in this life.  This week I have found myself thinking about the people and places that had always been present for my every visit.  A comfort to see them no matter how much time had passed, as if I had never left.

In Civita, little Maria sat in front of her garden waving visitors in to see the best view in the village.  I first saw her when I was 19 years old and by the time I took my young daughter she was moving less and more confused but still as vivacious.  My last visit she was gone.  Her garden locked.

Maria, courtesy of Miriam

In the hamlet of  Lucignano d’Asso near Siena, I was lucky enough to meet Rita and her husband several years ago.  I have written about my experiences at their small alimentari.  Rita is now alone, still serving coffee and anti pasta to visitors (I’m told by recent clients at a different price everyday) but I wonder when I will come to visit and find the doors of her shop locked as well.

Tuscany villa
Rita and her husband

Just outside of Orvieto is the agriturismo called Le Casette, my unofficial home away from home.  Two years ago during my visit with Daniela and her family, her husband was rushed to the hospital where it was discovered he had a horrible cancer.  His life would be taken before I was able to visit again only 4 months later.  Daniela is strong, the farm is still thriving.  Her father is aging though and I worry.  I wonder.  Will it be this time that he is no longer there to kiss my cheeks and sneak me extra glasses of vicolo?

My adopted grandpa

A village was buried in mud this October.  Lives were lost; lives were changed.  I know Vernazza will overcome, but things will be different.  At least for a while.

cinque terre flood
Vernazza after the flooding

I learned yesterday that one of my clients who had been bravely battling a destructive lung cancer has chosen to spend her remaining time with hospice care, in comfort and peace in her home.  I call my business Once in a Lifetime Travel, but that never meant more to me than when I began creating a month long trip for this amazing couple.  They soon became so much more than clients to me.  I needed to give them experiences and memories that they could hold on tightly to during the darker times.  While I didn’t possess any magical cures or miracle solutions, I know I give them a gift.

Change.  The only thing that never changes in life.

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About the author: Andi Brown

I am passionate about helping people create vacations that are perfect for them through personalized travel planning, itinerary review and small experience focused tours. My services put an emphasis on the experience of Italy, getting my clients away from the tourist crowds and into the heart and soul of the people. I believe in working with family run businesses at great locations with attention to the details. If you can dream it I can make it happen.

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  1. Debra Kolkka - 2011-12-03 at 12:49 pm Reply

    I have lost a couple of friends in the village in the 8 years I have been visiting. My very favourite, Edoardo died this year at 95. I visited his grave as soon as I got back to Bagni di Lucca in October. He is missed.

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