Subject: Re: Florence day trips
Hi. Lynn Phillips asked about travel to Italy and Spain under current world conditions.

She added the following regarding her daughter: her favorite two artist are Degas and Van Gogh; she has been collecting coins and learning about other country for years; as a typical pre-teen girl she loves clothes and boys; she has always loved eating at nice restaurants.

I don't know whether I am a fatalist or an optimist, but recent history has failed to show that any one place can be regarded as safe, so why not go to a place you want to (Italy, in our case)? Personally, I prefer Italy's food to Spain by a huge margin, but love Spain's music. Italy is famous for clothes, but, even though Milan is essentially the industry's hub, I don't recommend visiting there save for wonderful people like the Travelzine's Marco. We have bought some clothing (mainly shoes) in Florence, but we spend far more on jewelry and other leather. I can't speak for boys--my daughters were older when they visited but they judged those of suitable age most favorably.

Given your daughter's taste in art, you might consider Madrid if for no other reason than a trip to its Prado, which has excellent Dutch art because of the historic bond between the two countries--it has some great Bosch. Of course, Amsterdam is the place to see Van Gogh in large quantities. Most of the art in Florence's Uffizi is somewhat earlier. I am less familiar with the art in Venice--it's famed Guggenheim has more contemporary artists and its other museums have earlier artists.

I haven't tried to confuse the issue, but your choice is really a delightful one. You and your daughter should enjoy which ever one you select (and I would not suggest both on a single trip unless you have a lot of time and money).

Ira H. Bernstein