What is the fatal charm of Italy, that can be found nowhere else”? – Erica Jong It all started in the Fall of 1999. The “fatal charm” of Italy began to unfold through the window of a Renault on a road trip through Tuscany with my Italian cousins. Fresh from reading Frances Mayes Under the Tuscan Sun, with visions of vineyards and olive orchards dancing in my head, I jumped at my cousin Lidia’s suggestion that we travel by car from Milano through Chianti on our way to Siena stopping to visit Monteriggioni where my cousin’s husband Roberto was born.
Many more road trips followed. Some with family and friends, some alone and now with other like-minded taste travelers desiring to see and savor Italy on more than a “show and tell” tour. Yet that trip was and will always be the singular most perfect experience of Italy. Not because everything went right. It didn’t. We got lost repeatedly (yes Italians often get lost in their own country). I fell down in a vineyard and got car sick a few times (the roads of Chianti are winding). The experience was so memorable because this is where I discovered the heart and soul of Italy and began to see that Italy was far more than I ever imagined. Now after 15 years and 15,000 + miles traveling, shopping, cooking and eating in Northern Italy, Tuscany and Umbria I’ve come to regard Italy as a faraway friend that I look forward to visiting every year. Italy still continues to engage me in new and different ways.
Road trips are an adventure in the making. Described by some as a transformative sort of travel experience a road trip will take you from point A to point B but with a playlist of possibilities you have yet to discover. Your itinerary is set by the lifestyle of a country not by a travel brochure. You see the iconic sites of Italy a little differently, traveling like an Italian, on the road, with a personal connection to a landscape that unfolds as you drive the autostrada and Italy’s roads less traveled tasting regional food and wine at tables where centuries of culinary traditions are still part of eating Italian. You learn about how Italians live and work, how they think and what they like to do and along the way you’ll find a perspective and clarity about where you are in your own life. And don’t be surprised if you get lost once in a while – all Italians do. PS: Don’t be afraid to drive in Italy. Read why Contrary to Popular Opinion Driving in Italy is Not an Extreme Sport