Thursday, March 8, 2018

Destination Italy - May 2019

A few weeks ago I decided that for my 2019 holiday trip, I'm finally going to visit Italy! I have been wanting to go there for 20 years now. I have a penpal friend who lives in Pavia, a Province in Northern Italy, just South of Milan, and, coincidentally, about a hour train ride from Crema, the little Italian city made famous by an Oscar winning film I've been cheer leading recently! My friend Elena has been my penpal since 1998, and although we have never met or spoke on the phone (we have friended each other on Facebook), our annual Christmas cards have kept our friendship alive. During the first few years of our penpalship, I wanted to visit her in Milan, but money was tight and I never got a chance to do it. But I knew I would get there one day, and with the popularity of Call Me By Your Name, which was filmed in Crema, and with the film serving as a tourism public service announcement for Northern Italy, I now must go.

Coliseum of Rome
I have notified Elena that I will be visiting next May. I selected this time because the prime tourist season is June 15 - Sept 1, and I want to take advantage of Memorial Day weekend. She's quite excited and can't believe that I'm finally planning this trip. Traveling just before the prime tourist season will save me some money on airfare and hotels. And as you will see from the map of Italy at the top, the Milan region is way the hell up in the Northern part of Italy. Naturally, when one travels all the way to Italy, you want to spend some time in Rome, the capital, which is smack dab in the middle of Italy. So I need to figure out if I'm going to fly in/out of Rome or Milan, and how to travel between the two regions so that I can enjoy both areas. I will most likely travel by train between the two points. The art historian and world history buff in me needs to visit Rome for a few days. Then I need to fulfill a personal destiny in Pavia of meeting a sweet person who has regularly sent me Xmas cards from afar. And of course I need to visit Crema for at least 2 days to bike ride, and enjoy the sights before I head back home. I won't have time to visit Bergamo, which is just North of Crema and another important spot of where filming was done. I don't expect or necessarily want to retrace the steps made popular in the film - I just want to finally fulfill a long time personal desire to visit Italy, and check out a some beautiful landmarks in a small town that I just discovered from a favorite film.

Stay tuned for updates on my progress for trip of a lifetime!

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