Florence, Pisa, Vinci and San Gimignano were on our list for Tuscany. All of us wanted to see the rugged Amalfi Coast, so we included it. But then we had to figure what path to take to get us over to Molfetta. In my roaming around on Google Earth, including a lot of zooming into its Street View, I discovered the rugged peaks of Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa for an overnight stopover. Then I learned about the cave homes (and hotels) of Matera, the city of Sassi. OK, so we'd book a stay in a cave. Then of course, it was natural to include a stay in a pointy roofed trullo just outside of Alberobello. That would bring us pretty close to Molfetta. We would leave Rome for last, returning to Rome by train and spending another several days without rental car exploring the ancient city.
It was a complex plan that took many months to finesse, with changes and last minute glitches that had to be solved. We had to book the flight, arrange for car service, reserve seats on 3 different trains and had two different car rentals. We reserved a private tour of the Vatican Museum. We booked eight different accommodations: 2 agriturismo B&Bs, 2 villas, 2 hotels and 2 apartments.
It was tough, but we did it... and now the Voyage is part of who we are as a family.
One more note about Italian roads... For some reason, the "roundabouts" in Italy function perfectly and are used more than other types of intersections. Everyone seems to flow smoothly around these perfectly engineered traffic circles.
How about our next trip? Well, we now know that we don't like the highly trafficked tourist sites, so we would stay longer in hub locations and spend time living like the locals--going to the market town in the mornings, heading to uncluttered sandy beaches, drinking local wine, maybe taking a few cooking classes, all the while soaking in the local lifestyle... doing our best to simply "be Italian". We also loved the South much more than the North, so the next time we might spend a week or so relaxing and exploring Puglia (with a day trip to Abruzzo) and perhaps another week in Sicily while searching out Lisa's family roots in Corleone. Meanwhile, we keep living the Italian life...