Italy has zero concern for water conservation. Jeffrey pointed this out during the 10 days we spent there on spring break. I also recognized this after experiencing the best shower of my life in Positano. This is where we ended our Italian journey. Traveling to Italy from Barcelona in two hours landed us in Venice. Venice stole my heart. The city operates solely using their waterways. It’s true, no cars, no scooters and even no bikes. The city comes alive with romance, art and Italian men. The Italian men in Venice had both Jeffrey and I turning our heads. Whether we traveled the waterways by boat taxi or gondola, Venice exemplifies a city whose soul lives in yesteryear. Oh yeah, the fact that I sipped my espresso and ate my tiny cookie right next to The Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer, Anthony Kiedis, only upped the ante for me.
The first night of Passover fell while in Venice. We took a boat to a Seder in the Jewish Ghetto with about 30 other Jews, some living in Venice and others traveling like the five of us. The rabbi motioned over to Elliot during the Seder to read from the Italian/Hebrew haggaduh. He passed. We ate family style all the while missing our family. Yet, between the very very four full glasses of wine and the oldest man in the room chanting the four questions, it left this experience irreplaceable.
One day while in Venice a beautiful shiny teak stained water taxi with Giavanni the driver sped us off to the islands of Murano and Burano. We watched glass being blown, visited the home of our guide and bought glassware the exact same green as the Venice canals. The mere or mirror reflection of each and every building into the water provided great visual stimulation and lasting memories.
We worked a bit of art and culture into our trip. A quick stint through the contemporary works at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum and a tour of the most recent Damian Hirst exhibit provided us all with inspiration and thought. That visit to Venice may have been my first, but not my last.
A short train ride to Rome and we began uncovering layer upon layer of history, most from about 2000 years ago. The Colosseum, aside from the amazement and awe of it, left me perplexed at the sophisticated building techniques used so long ago.
An absolute highlight of Rome happened while all five of us and a guide whizzed around the city on The back of Vespas on a perfectly sunny afternoon. We cruised past the Roman Jewish Ghetto, peeked through the Maltan Embassy’s keyhole to view St. Peter’s dome which sat perfectly centered in the distance and imagined Romans competing in Chariot races at Circus Maximus. I know no one in this family will ever forget feeling like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday on those scooters.
The day before Good Friday we toured the Vatican. The kids joked about the Popemobile we saw in the Carriage Pavillon starting during our visit and have not stopped, even now. We looked around in astonishment at the Cistine Chapel, the Galleries of Maps and Tapestries and the countless marble busts that hold unimaginable untold stories.
Our Italian adventure ended in Positano, with that shower that I keep thinking about. While there, we hiked in the mountains, boated to Capri and ate a lot of fish that tasted more fresh than any fish I remember tasting. It all, no matter what kind, melted in my mouth. As life continues to remind me that all good things must come to an end. And so did this trip, with a special dinner in our special hotel with my family relishing in our fading memories of the Amalfi Coast and other Italian wonders.
Thank you for the memories. Your cooking brings my taste buds to life. Your sights contain great beauty and wonder. Even your sounds, whether loud or soft, remind me I am in a rich land filled with history and heart. You have touched the souls of all my family.
With love and admiration,