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One morning in 2006, an AOL ticker banner flashed "Alitalia Magnifica Fares" across my desktop. My curiosity got the best of me, so I clicked to learn more. That one decision changed the course of so many things over the next eleven years! So many stories to share, and I'm still amazed at how what we thought was a once in a lifetime trip ended up evolving into so many more adventures! Over the years, we have experienced the fruits of incredible lifelong friendships made along the dirt roads of Tuscany, to the Mama Mia Amalfi coastal road, all leading us to remarkable “off the beaten path” hotels, restaurants, farmhouses and villas.
Perhaps, its the genuine simplicity of the rural Italian lifestyle that permeates my craving of times gone by, when family in the United States was truly the center of all activities in a day. To me, traveling in Italy reminds me of the excitement I felt as a child, waiting for my Dad to come home off the road for the weekend. That, to our family meant a weekend of sharing good times and memorable meals together. When you arrive into a small quaint hamlet such as Gaiole or Radda in Chianti around dinnertime, you’ll not only smell the fragrance of black truffles and garlic in some small tucked away kitchen, but you’re likely to see things that are rarely seen here in the United States. Families actually congregating in the centers of those small towns, engaged in conversations with neighbors or friends, kids playing soccer on the cobblestoned streets, or a family sharing a simple game of cards at a sidewalk café. Sounds simplistic, but in comparison to the busy, homogenized lifestyle that we’ve all become accustomed or complacent to in the US, Italy lends itself to the way I grew up. Tuscany is the place where at the age of six, my daughter asked all of us to stop and listen to the wind moving from the top of a Tuscan ridge, as it traveled down through a sunny vineyard. This is the place where I actually noticed the sound of a bee and not because of the threat of being stung, but because of the peaceful busy sound as he made his way to work through the lavender hedge in bloom. There’s something incredible about the distant sound of a church bell ringing in every hour and half hour of a beautiful day. So with a bit of research, our adventuresome nature, a good GPS, and a working international cell phone our lives and perspective began to change.
Debbie Tyson Rosen is a travel, food, wine and music enthusiast and embraces life at every turn with unfettered ambition and a love for all things, Italy. She loves photography, and enjoys being in her own kitchen creating her versions of classic Italian cuisine. Whether it’s her heart-warming stories and captivating pictures from the road, a glowing vocal performance with her jazz quintet, or a transparently honest review, she conveys the essence of simple truths, sharing Passion with Enthusiasm.