I was 21, in the Air Force and stationed in the United Kingdom just outside of Oxford when our commander asked for volunteers to deploy to Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily. I volunteered for every deployment, so many that my nickname was “Hell I’ll Go”, a take on my surname “Hidalgo”. We were in there for 30 days and had enough free time to explore Sicily and to visit Naples, Rome and Florence.
I fell in love with the Tuscany countryside, the land of olives and grapes and I fell in love with Florence. I wandered through the piazzas, the alleys and back streets mingling with the locals in the eateries, bars and shops continuing the “travel style” I had developed when I was stationed in Asia and explored Manila, Tokyo, Busan, Bangkok, etc. I found that I was far happier traveling alone rather than in a group and that allowed me to avoid the tourist sites and to travel at my pace.
After 30 days, we flew back to the United Kingdom and I vowed to return. Little did I know that it would be 30 years before I again set foot in Italia!
My return to Italy came I took daughter there for her high school graduation in 2015. We were able to spend time in Rome, Florence, Naples, Sorrento, Capri, Anacapri and Fiumicino. I wanted to give my daughter a taste of the world and of course a taste of Italian food and wine as well as a sense of adventure. We also visited Spain and France but hey, it’s Italy that I’m writing about!
Our last full day was in Fiumicino and as we walked on the beach, the idea that perhaps I should move to Italy when I retired was birthed. I was thinking that it would be a great home base to explore the rest of Europe and I was totally enthralled by the way of life, the pace of life and lifestyle of Italy. Needless to say, it was very sad to leave.
Every great plan starts as just a thought. If it’s meant to grow that thought is watered by one’s passion. Please join me as my plan develops as I will be sharing updates here.