My dear Italian friends, Giovanni and Stefano invited me to go and stay in Italy for a few months. I was spoilt rotten and it started by being given my own penthouse in Milan, walking distance from where they were staying.
We drove to France and stayed in a hotel in Nice from where we explored Saint-Tropez, Grasse, St. Paul de Vence and the surrounding area. We enjoyed French cuisine, sun, loads of laughter, sundowners in trendy bars, beaches, exploring chateaux’s (not sure if you spell it with an x and what the plural is for a chateau(x).
Back in Milan I fell in a type of routine. In the morning the boys would pick me up on the way to their office where I would check my e-mails and do some work and then set off by train to Verona, Parma, Ferrara, Bologna, Bergamo, Modena etc.
On weekends we would go to their house on Lago Maggoire which is just after the famous Lago Como where George Cloony has a house. We would dine in street café’s, drive around small villages, discover islands, sip coffee, go for after dinner walks and just have fun.
An eye opening experience was a trip to Sardinia, truly the playground of the rich and famous. I fell in love with a place called San Pantaleo and still have dreams of going to live on the square for a month or three. We started in the North and explored our way down to Cagliari where our friend Alexandra lives with her family. Ale cooked an Italian feast and a long table was set for the whole family including her father who lives with them. The Sardinian dialect was slung around the table and I had trouble concentrating while savoring the delicious home cooking.
Back in Milan I was set on going to Sicily but Gio and Ste did not approve. I finally received their blessing after they arranged with Aldo that his brother, who lives in Sicily and is a sales rep, will collect me from my hotel every morning and schedule his sales trips to accommodate tourist excursions. It all worked really well except that he could not speak English. My Italian improved daily with leaps and bounds and as the time went by, sign language and the dictionary was less required.
I was truly blessed to experience such a trip, not only did I have two handsome Italian tour guides, I experienced everything as if I was a true Italian and it was lovely to spend so much time with my beloved friends. Italy will always have a very soft spot in my heart after such a magical few months.