Tuesday, January 02, 2007


2007 will mark two important milestones in the life of the Whitman family. Kate and I will have been married 25 years. And Kate will experience one of those big “decade” birthdays, and since she was neither a teen bride nor a late-blooming wallflower, you can probably figure out which one. Thus, part of the holiday break was spent poring over travel guides and working out a tentative itinerary for the big blowout trip to Italy, which will coincide with both of our birthdays, and will be close enough to our anniversary without having to worry about snowstorms in the Alps. So, assuming ongoing employment and continued good health (knock on wooden prosthetic devices), we will ship the last kid off to college in mid-September, catch our breath for a bit, and then head out for a 16-day extravaganza. All by ourselves. No, you can’t come, but we’ll think fondly of you as we’re sipping vino and saying words such as “antipasto” and “gelato.”

This is where we’re thinking of going:

Venice (3 days)
Ravenna (1 day)
Florence (3 days)
Vernazza (Italian Riviera) (2 days)
Siena (1 day)
Assisi (1 day)
Rome (3 days)

Plus two days of travel time, and there you have it. This is something I’ve dreamed about doing all my life. And I can’t tell you how excited I am (although my kids can, and they’re ready to gag me if I utter one more word about it). I want to immerse myself in the culture. I want to take siestas. I want to talk with my hands. I want to have all my stereotypes blown to bits. If any of you have experienced Italy, I’d love to hear your recommendations, warnings, etc. We’re still in the preliminary planning stages, and it’s a long way off, but I’m already counting down the days.


John McCollum said...

Damn, Andy. That is wonderful.

I hope you have the best time anyone has ever had in Italy. I hope you rent a red convertible, and that Kate will stun the masses with her beautiful white hair, flowing blue scarf and round Sofia Loren sunglasses.

I hope you eat your fill of prosciutto di Parma, imbibe liberally Barolo and Chianti and blog infrequently about a milestone trip that will provoke smiles, winks and knowing glances everytime you think of it.

And I hope you don't get diahrrhea. Cause that sucks when you travel. Trust me.

Anonymous said...

earlier today, i was noticing that there's nothing exciting on the horizon right now (for me). it makes life a little more liveable when you look at the calendar and see an event or a visit to make life a little more worth living. so for now, i suppose i'll just live for your trip in october!

Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,
I just read your big news re: Italy. My son and I did a 10-day trip to Europe hitting 5 cities. There was no time to be immersed in the culture, even though that was the plan. There so much to do and see and the language thing often got in the way.

It was still wonderful, lots of food, wine and time to talk about many things. We had our first beer together as men, and he saw that he really can go into a bar, have a few, and walk out later without having to puke in the bushes;-)

Nick Vega

Karen said...

i'm excited for you guys!

Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,

Some friends of mine recently did a similar trip. They spent some time in Piedmont, then down around Florence, then on to Rome. They feel that their best decision was to book a couple private tours of small family-owned wineries. On multiple occasions, they were met by friendly family members with whom they ended up spending the day eating, drinking, and talking. They found the Italians particularly friendly and generous in their homes.

KGMom said...

I am a complete stranger who wandered into your blog--OK, I really followed a link on someone else's blog. But, your Italy trip plans sound great, but as you wander around Tuscany, could you throw in a visit to San Gimiano (not sure of spelling)? It is a delightful little Tuscan town known for its many bell towers.
Enjoy your trip!

C's Mom said...

Yay for you guys! It's something for the rest of us with younger children to look forward to!

Anonymous said...

Great news for both of you! I recommend you consult both of my daughters. Heather has been to Italy more than once, while Jessica has been once and will be going again in late Spring of this year with Kyle. I will alert them of your plans.

Anonymous said...

when in rome, be careful of pickpockets. my brother-in-law had all of his money stolen there on his honeymoon. the same thing goes on trains (a school director i know had thousands of dollars stolen while she was on the train).

my wife said that she stayed in a cheap hotel in venice and noticed that the staff were eating her snack food when she was out during the day. she also heard strange noises at night, like someone was trying to get in to her room.

i recommend that you watch a rick steves video and consider picnicking, if the weather allows. i also recommend a frommers guidebook.