We found this fantastic line of luggage from A. Saks. not cheap, but not really expensive either. The fabric is tough. The zippers are big and industrial feel. The interior is cavernous. The main savings is the weight--just 5.5 pounds versus 7-8 pounds for many others with this capacity.
UPDATE: This duffle proved to be invaluable. It rolled well, could take another bad (my messenger bag) on top, held lots of stuff and looked like new at the end of the three week trip. A. Saks proved to be the perfect luggage for us.
And finally, a few days to roam around Rome. (Bad pun). We dread the tourist trappings but of course realize the need to see the Roman Forum, the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. Sigh... we hate long lines and crowds. Stay tuned to see how andif we solved these problems.
Here we will share what we learned about the part of Italy where my father Saverio (Sal to us) was born. The town of Molfetta is the reason for going to Puglia but there is so much more here... 2000 year-old olive trees, caves, grottos, seafood, the world's best bread and Land of Oz Trullo houses.
Our next step of our voyage will take us into relatively unknown territory--unknown to most Americans, that is. This is a rugged, natural area of Italy with its own versions of Macchu Picchu-like villages up among the cliffs and clouds.
Here we will share our experiences on the Sorrento peninsula and the Amalfi Coast. We are looking forward to the drive along the curvy scenic roads of this region, the cliff-hugging towns, where Odysseus came upon the Sirens and giant lemons grow.
First we will explore the southern part of Tuscany, staying in an agriturismo just outside of Pienza. Next we will explore the northern part of Tuscany, including Florence and Pisa. Our home base will be another agriturismo within view of the little Italian "Manhattan"--San Gimignano with its ancient towers.
Jerry's Dad was a sweetheart. He had a lot of Italy in him. Always eating sandwiches "deconstructed" style... bread in one hand, meat and cheese in the other. He was frugal, loved gardening, grew his own tomatoes. A real Italian. I'm only half Italian... maybe this trip will add a bit more on my Italian side.
My Dad is gone more than a decade now--longer than my 10 year old son is on this planet. He was born in Molfetta, Italy--down in Puglia. He was a simple man--like his roots. I always promised him that someday I'd take him to Molfetta to see his four-year-old memories he always told me about: "Lots of fishing boats and sailboats. All the buildings were white. The smell of the sea." We never made it together.
But now, my little family of three are planning the biggest trip of our lives: 20 days in Italy. First to southern Tuscany in the Crete Sinese clay hills. Next to northern Tuscany and Chianti and its hill towns, history and art. Then onto Sorrento and Amalfi to drive the world's most crazy and scenic roads hugging the cliffs above the Adriatic. After that we'll drive further south through Basilicata and stay in Italy's own Machu Picchu--up in the clouds and cliffs but still inhabited and loved. Next it will be a visit to the caves of Matera and staying in the pointed Trulli houses--straight out of the Land of Oz. Then the most important part of the trip. To pay homage to Dad and walk the streets, smell the air and taste the food of Molfetta. He will be with us.
The last will be a visit to Rome for a few days to soak in the history, the museums, the Appian Way and of course, the food.
Stay tuned. I will be blogging along with Lisa, my wife, Lucas, my son. We will describe not only the trip, but the planning leading up to it all. Of course, Dad will always be a part of this. After all, in finding ourselves in Italy we will also be finding Dad again--and what made him so simple and dolce.
Experience the Italian lifestyle, heritage, cuisine, art, music, language and traditions, while learning how our own Grand Voyage to Italy affected our lives back at home--per sempre--forever. Andiamo, take a Grand Voyage with us...