I started this blog last year before the COVID epidemic. I am so incredibly grateful to have taken this trip with my mom before the world came to a screeching halt.
So many wonderful memories, I can’t wait to create more with my beautiful mom!
So blessed am I to be the daughter of this brilliant woman. Her spirit of adventure, nonstop energy and never ending curiosity always keeps me in total awe and on my toes. My mother is Venetian born and raised. Yes, the actual Venice, Italy, with Gondolas, the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square. My grandfather and great-grandfather were Gondoliers. It’s a very proud heritage for me. Not too many people can say they are from beautiful Venice, a city unlike anywhere in the world.
I came to the United States as a baby with my mom. She spoke fluent English and married an American Soldier so the USA became our home. With all of our family still living in Venice and the northern surrounding areas of Italy, we very seldom tour Italy. Rome and Amalfi is the furthest south we have ventured. But mom always said she wanted to see Sicily…
I close my eyes and I still smell strong coffee and taste the flaky chocolate croissant. It’s my favorite breakfast and it always reminds me of vacation. This particular morning, September 9, 2019, mom and I are waiting for our fellow travelers to gather at a local restaurant, Cucina di Rosa a cozy place tucked in a neighborhood with delicious Sicilian cuisine. I am so excited, mom and I are traveling together again but this time not to Venice to see family but to Sicily, an island south of mainland Italy.
Through the years there has been discussion about planning a trip to Sicily. While most people like to refer to a “Bucket List”, my mom calls it her “Memory List”. It’s the perfect phrase because memories will last a lifetime. So somehow the stars and moons aligned and a trip came up organized by her friend Rose Mary Leggio. Rose owns the restaurant and was born in Sicily. Most of her family live in Sambuca, a beautiful small city with rolling hills and vineyards. What better way to experience Sicily than to travel with a local.
Our journey started in Chicago O’Hare and we landed in Rome the next day. From Rome Fiumicino we caught the second flight to Catania and boarded a bus to Taormina. Ahhhh, Taormina, I can hardly wait to go back! Mom and I shared a room. OK, how many of you travel with your parents and share a room? I’m a morning person, mom is a night owl. I mean, who organizes their suitcases at 11:30pm? Yup, that’s my traveling companion. It’s a good thing we are in Italy and espresso is flowing.
My mom is a water baby. She has to stick her toes in the sea whenever the opportunity presents itself. Here we are at the end of an excursion on the nearby island Lipari. I no sooner turn around to chat with my mom and she has her shoes off and is dipping her feet in the shoreline. It was a warm day and we walked a lot so I can’t say I blame her.
We are in Lipari.
A beautiful boat ride with views of smoldering volcanoes.
The world is my mom’s stage. She is the foundation of my life and the person I hope I grow up to become. In November she turned 80 years young. And when I mean young it is as if 80 is the new 60’s for her. Nothing keeps her down and she is always in a state of discovery and perseverance. I will always be in complete awe of my mother. Can I just say, I am the luckiest daughter!
I’ve often have conversations with people about my background and travels to Italy and throughout Europe. Many conversations end with…”maybe someday we’ll go. You are sooo lucky. When I retire…” etc, etc. All I can say is I hope you can plan the trip and go. It doesn’t have to be fancy. With some research and smart packing you can have your trip of a lifetime! We all can come up with so many reasons as to why we can’t go somewhere special but what about the “Memory List”? Can you imagine my mom being someone else’s roommate?! Not me! I got to be a part of my mom’s adventure by her side. See the Sicily she always wanted to see through her eyes. I wouldn’t trade those 10 days for anything. It was hot, exhausting, I ate wayyyyy too much, didn’t get enough sleep, and was and still am deliriously happy!