Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Italy bound

A few weeks ago, during a long weekend in Baltimore, I dragged a friend across town to Fell's Point. I needed to visit a shop that I was hoping would have a certain map of Italy in stock. My friend indulged me, in part because she is a good friend and in part because a visit to Fell's Point was also a good excuse to pick up some gelato. Our trip was a success; we both got gelato and I got my map. Now it's hanging above my desk, just beyond my computer screen as I type these words, a happy distraction.

Italy has been a happy distraction for the better part of a year now, ever since I started imagining the month I'll be spending there this spring. A few months ago imagining transitioned into planning, and since then every shelf and side table and spare flat surface has been buried under stacks of guide books and tomes of Italian cookery. Now that my trip begins in two weeks (!!), many of those books have been buried under to-do lists.

Here's the plan as it stands now. I'll fly into Venice, where I'll stay for about a week. After that, I'll spend about five days in Bologna. Then I'll be renting a car (my first time, not only in Europe, but ever) to visit smaller towns and food producers in Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany. That road trip will end in Florence, where I'll stay for about five days. Next comes a week-long buyer's tour with aTTavola, a company that imports many of the Italian foods we sell. And finally, I'll end with about six days in Rome before returning to the US.

In the past, I used this blog as a record of everything I saw and did and ate during every day of my time spent living and traveling in France. (If, after that persuasive pitch, you'd like to know more, read on! It's all still here for your perusal.) This time around, I want to use this blog as a tool to share my learnings and epiphanies and banal observations on shorter topics. Less diary, more topical. I expect the posts will be much shorter, but also (I hope) much more frequent. And my fingers are crossed that I'll write about things - at least some things - as they actually happen, rather than doing most of the writing months after the fact.

I hope you'll join me for the trip!

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