Trigger Warning

This post contains extreme content that may trigger your longing for Italy. Read further at your own risk of falling in love, for it is difficult to deny the beauty that abounds in the body of this country – in the folds of her hills and the stretch of her coasts. Proceed with caution. There is no safe space between the words and photos of my witness and your review.

We begin 2,300 meters above sea level in the Dolomites. This place rocks for skiers who like to cruise wide, perfect S-turns on healthy slopes that won’t break aging bones (if you don’t show off), and gourmet lunches that won’t break the bank.  And the views? Priceless!


Who needs Japan when in Rome?  The cherry blossoms certainly don’t. They bloom in the spirit of cherry blossoms everywhere, bursting with short-lived, long-awaited fervor. Even my boys fell under their spell in the botanical garden, and they frolicked like little wood nymphs daring to play in the light of a cherry-tinted day:


The coast near Sperlonga holds darker tales of frolicking during the time of Tiberius. In a seaside grotto studded with Greek statues, the debauched Roman Emperor is rumored to have amused himself with young boys in the pools of the imperial cavern.  Roman scholar and biographer, Suetonius, tells us Tiberius liked his playmates to swim like fish around his body and nibble on his skin and relevant appendages. While the Caesar was most certainly a bent character, he had fine taste in real estate on this stretch of sea two hours south of Rome:


This spring was our third annual trip to Spello and Assisi with the lovely Dana English – friend, spiritual mentor, and weariless ambassador of humanity, and the humanities. Every year we sleep simply but comfortably in a lovely convent, dine on tasty Umbrian cuisine, drink plenty of local wine, and hike through achingly beautiful olive groves along an ancient trail that traces a Roman aqueduct.  Some of us even make it to the top of Mount Subasio:


And not but two weeks ago, I went to Abruzzo for a spontaneous visit to the town of Arpino, home of the Roman literary genius, Cicero.  Arpino will also become a second home to friends of mine who want to renovate a small apartment that by every measure should be razed if it weren’t so old and historic, and they weren’t so crazy.  We toasted the deal over an al fresco lunch at a lovely farmhouse owned by local friends who helped facilitate the dream.  It takes a village… to renovate a pied à terre:


Finally, a few scattered images of places and moments that have delighted me: