Although I had told my friend, Rosemary, that she did not need to meet us at the airport in Pisa, she insisted that it was a good idea as we would be tired after the long trip. Grazie Dio, our brains could barely function as we picked up our rental car at the tiny airport that looked more like a train station than an international place for arrivals and departures. We wound our way in our jet lagged state behind Rosemary’s small Fiat up into the hills of Lucca to the home she and her husband had built around the smallfootprint of a barn. We were rewarded with not only their warm hospitality and wonderfully designed house, but a great view that stretched all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.
I had not been on an Air France flight in over 40 years since my first trip to Europe in 1968. The only other flight I had been on prior to that was a ‘prop’ plane destined for Michigan to perform as a baton twirler with our high school band for a half time show at the University. This flight was quite another matter that involved traversing the Atlantic Ocean, some turbulent air, and a queasy stomach that necessitated the flight attendants ushering me to the front of the cabin where they administered a spoonful of creme de menthe poured over a cube of sugar. Can you imagine that happening today? I am happy to report that the current flight, on the upper deck of a 747-400 was a much smoother affair, and that the flight crew was just as lovely and accommodating (no sugar cube required).
Only two more days before the adventure. I have not been away from home for this amount of time (3 weeks +) since I was eighteen years old and just experiencing my first trip to Europe. I remember missing my parents, but I remember being completely changed by the experience.
The trip was in connection with Nancy Taylor Secretarial School. Back in 1967 if you did not go to college, secretarial school was the natural option (outside of marriage). My father, although a very intelligent man who graduated two years ahead of his class, was obliged to work in the family grocery store instead of pursuing a college degree. College was NOT part of his DNA and NOT an idea that he passed on to his children. During a visit with my Mom to the school, I noticed a flyer announcing a study trip to Europe. That clinched it. I knew this was the school for me; and that I would travel for the first time to Europe. When spring came I withdrew all the money that I had earned babysitting, save $5.00 to keep the account open. I had no friends that were participating in the trip, but this did not deter my wanderlust or desire to explore the world outside my hometown of Pelham, New York. The journey was indeed life altering as it opened my mind to other cultures, and ways of living that have become part of my collective consciousness to this day.
When did you make your first foray to the continent?
La Dolce Villa is an homage to a way of life. One where there is time to savour the rhythms of living by the seasons, and time to capture the details of a culture and a community. La Dolce Villa can be a physical place as well as a metaphor for the simple life. For me, it exists in my home in Coral Gables as well as in Italy.
My desire is to live ‘La Dolce Villa’ surrounding myself with objects that add beauty and texture to life: family, good friends, aesthetic decor, good food and loved ones to share with. I am traveling to Italy for what I anticipate will be a journey of discovery to seek out vintage objects to re fabricate, retool or reuse for the purpose of enhancing La Dolce Villa. Let’s see what happens. Ci vediamo.