Subject: Re: New San Francisco member
Hi..I think back to my first trip to Italy. It was almost by accident. It was March and it was still Winter in Munich. My partner and I had been well cared for by two families there on this our first trip to Europe. Damn, it was COLD! Which we said to each other...followed by let's go somewhere south and get WARM. Italy was the most direct southern train we went. To Milan for an ovenight stop. Huge rainstorm. This wasn't it. We knew it. Though the food was superb. Next day onto the train and that evening we were in Rome. Warm and full of architecture I'd seen in my art history courses.

Which is a long lead-in to saying that I think Rome is the heart of Italian history, a great sprawling layer cake of history. For me, there is no other place to begin to know and love Italy. Go there first; you will return many times. Then Venice, an impossible waking dream. I once arrived there at 4 a.m. and walked across the city under a full moon....just me and the cats! Ideally I'd tell you to save up for a three week trip: Rome for 2 weeks then 1 week in Venice. Nothing else. Don't even think of driving. Take trains. Go on high speed trains. Go first class! This is a treat.

Then your second trip: again three weeks. Go to Torino (nobody does!) and then Venice again and then a week in Florence.

After that you are allowed (if you can stand it) to rent a car and wander around the rural Italy that is another whole aspect.

Are we having fun yet? Are you packing? buon viaggio will San Francisco