anticipation & preparation: central italy

We will be spending two+ weeks in central Italy in late April and early May. This trip will be added on to my trip to Morocco, since much money can be saved by taking only one flight across the pond.

From Morocco, I’ll go directly to Rome and spend two days there on my own before Mike arrives. Since Mike went to Rome on his first honeymoon, he has no interest in returning.  Once I meet him at the airport, we’ll rent a car and drive north to the Cinque Terre, hopefully stopping in Pisa.  Then we will work our way south, through Florence, Tuscany, and Umbria, until we reach Rome again.  From there we’ll fly home.

To prepare for our trip, I started by looking through several guidebooks:

  1. Rick Steves Best of Italy
  2. Essential Italy 2019: Fodor’s Travel
  3. Lonely Planet Italy

put down the map and get lost

We plotted out our trip on a paper map, using Google Maps to determine driving times and distances.  Here’s our itinerary:

  1. Tue, April 23: Fly from Casablanca to Rome.
    1. ATOS Bed and Breakfast in Rome.
  2. Wed, April 24: Rome on my own.

    1. The Beehive in Rome.
  3. Thur, April 25: Rome on my own.

    1. The Beehive in Rome.
  4. Fri, April 26: La Spezia, Liguria
    1. Mike flies in.
    2. Drive to our Airbnb “The Piano Apartment” in La Spezia, Liguria, stopping in Pisa (4:00 p.m. check-in).
    3. Explore Portovenere.
  5. Sat, April 27: “The Piano Apartment” in La Spezia, Liguria
    1. Explore Cinque Terre
  6. Sun, April 28: “The Piano Apartment” in La Spezia, Liguria
    1. Explore Cinque Terre & take more walks through the national park.
  7. Mon, April 29: Florence (*many museums closed)
    1. Explore Lucca on the way to Florence.
    2. Check into “Terrace with a View” in Florence (3:00-7:00 p.m.).
  8. Tue, April 30: Florence
    1. “Terrace with a View”
  9. Wed, May 1: Florence
    1. “Terrace with a View”
  10. Thur, May 2: San Gimignano
    1. Airbnb “Appartamento Adalberto nel Castello di Fulignano”
    2. From here, we’ll explore the town and outlying areas, including Siena and the Chianti Region.
  11. Fri, May 3: San Gimignano
    1. Airbnb “Appartamento Adalberto nel Castello di Fulignano”
  12. Sat, May 4: San Gimignano
    1. Airbnb “Appartamento Adalberto nel Castello di Fulignano”
  13. Sun, May 5: Montepulciano
    1. Drive through the Tuscan countryside, with stops in Asciano, Abbazia di Oliveto Maggiore, Buonconvento, Montalcino, S. Antimo, Quirico d’Orcia, Pienza and finally to Montepulciano.
    2. La Terrazza Di Montepulciano (1:00 p.m. check-in)
  14. Mon, May 6: Perugia, Umbria
    1. Drive to Perugia with stops along the way.
    2. Airbnb “Villa with Swimming Pool in Perugia”
  15. Tue, May 7: Perugia, Umbria
    1. Airbnb “Villa with Swimming Pool in Perugia”
    2. Explore Assisi. Possible other towns: Spoleto, Todi, Gubbio, Lake Trasimeno, Spello, Norcia, and Narni.  See Top Places to Go in Umbria.
  16. Wed, May 8: Orvieto, Umbria
    1. Hotel Duomo
    2. Explore Orvieto and Civita
  17. Thur, May 9: Rome:
    1. Drive to Fiumicino with possible stop in Cerveteri.
    2. Fiumicino Airport B&B Deluxe
  18. Fri, May 10: Fly home 9:45 a.m. (Italian time) to 1:45 p.m. EST.

preparation for Italy

I joined a closed Facebook group, Traveling to Italy, to read about other traveler experiences. I also follow a number of Instagram accounts related to Italy for photography and destination inspiration.

There are a wealth of novels set in Italy, some of which I read years ago.  If there is a link and a star rating, I have already read the book.  If not, I may be currently reading it. Otherwise, I may read it at some future time, when I return to explore other parts of Italy:

  1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert *****
  2. The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner *****
  3. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway *****
  4. The Miracles of Santo Fico by D.L. Smith ****
  5. The Fall of a Sparrow by Robert Hellenga *****
  6. The Sixteen Pleasures by Robert Hellenga
  7. The Italian Lover by Robert Hellenga
  8. The Confessions of Frances Godwin by Robert Hellenga
  9. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  10. An Italian Affair by Laura Fraser
  11. Cucina: A Novel of Rapture by Lily Prior
  12. Born Twice by Giuseppe Ponliggia
  13. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
  14. My Brilliant Friend (The Neopolitan Novels, #1) by Elena Ferrante
  15. The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian
  16. The Homecoming Party by Carmine Abate
  17. From the Land of the Moon by Milena Agus
  18. The Story of a New Name (The Neopolitan Novels, #2) by Elena Ferrante
  19. Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neopolitan Novels, #3) by Elena Ferrante
  20. The Story of the Lost Child (The Neopolitan Novels, #4) by Elena Ferrante
  21. The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante
  22. The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante
  23. The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani
  24. The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman
  25. Christ Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a Year by Carlo Levi
  26. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
  27. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  28. The Enchanted April Elizabeth von Arnim
  29. A Room with a View by E.M Forster
  30. Vila Triste by Lucretia Grindle
  31. The Lady in the Palazzo: At Home in Umbria by Marlena de Blasi
  32. Lost Hearts in Italy by Andrea Lee
  33. Extra Virgin (Italy Series, #1) by Annie Hawes
  34. The Villa in Italy (A Vintage Mystery) by Elizabeth Edmonson
  35. Living in a Foreign Language: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Love in Italy by Michael Tucker
  36. Return to Glow: A Pilgrimage of Transformation in Italy by Chandi Wyant
  37. A Kiss from Maddalena by Christopher Castellani
  38. All This Talk of Love: A Novel by Christopher Castellani
  39. Been Here a Thousand Years by Mariolina Venezia, Marina Harss (Translator)
  40. The Shape of Water (Commissario Montalbano #1) by Andrea Camilleri
  41. A Chill in the Air by Iris Origo
  42. Rome
    1. Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr
  43. Tuscany
    1. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes ****
    2. The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen ****
    3. Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes
    4. Every Day in Tuscany by Frances Mayes
    5. See You in the Piazza by Frances Mayes
    6. Vanilla Beans & Brodo: Real Life in the Hills of Tuscany by Isabella Dusi
    7. A Thousand Days in Tuscany: A Bittersweet Adventure (Italian Memoirs) by Marlena de Blasi
    8. Home to Italy by Peter Pezzelli
    9. That Month in Tuscany by Inglath Cooper

To see books set in international destinations, please visit books | international a-z .


books set in Italy

Of course, there are also many movies set in Italy. I’ve given star ratings to the ones I’ve watched.  One of my favorites is Bread & Tulips, set in Venice, but sadly we won’t be going there this time.

  1. A Room With a View (1985) *****
  2. The English Patient (1996) *****
  3. Life is Beautiful (1997) *****
  4. Besieged (1998) ****
  5. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) **
  6. Bread & Tulips (2000) *****
  7. Malèna (2000) *****
  8. Italian for Beginners (2000) **
  9. The Son’s Room (2001) *****
  10. Agatha and the Storm (2004) ****
  11. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) ****
  12. Letters to Juliet (2010) ****
  13. The Tourist (2010) **
  14. A Bigger Splash (2015) **
  15. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
  16. Roman Holiday (1953)
  17. Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
  18. La dolce vita (1960)
  19. Come September (1961)
  20. The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)
  21. Cinema Paradiso (1988)
  22. Il Postino: The Postman (1994)
  23. Stealing Beauty (1996)
  24. Tea with Mussolini (1999)
  25. The Best of Youth (2003)
  26. A Good Woman (2004)
  27. Angels & Demons (2009)
  28. I am Love (2009)
  29. To Rome with Love (2012)
  30. The Great Beauty (2013)
  31. The Trip to Italy (2014)
  32. Call Me by Your Name (2017)
  33. Napoli velata (2018)

I had every intention of studying some Italian before I left, but the days got away from me, and I was never able to learn much except for a few greetings: Ciao! Buongiorno! Arrivederci!  A presto. Buonanotte.  🙂

JOURNAL AND INTENTIONS:  How can I push myself to create something new from my wanderings?


Italy Intentions


preparing for Italy

I also made a Spotify playlist of Italian music to accompany us on our trip: Notes from Italy. It includes Italian singers, duos and groups such as Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti, Tiziano Ferro, Nek, Zero Assoluto, Umberto Tozzi, and others.


“ANTICIPATION & PREPARATION” INVITATION: I invite you to write a post on your own blog about anticipation & preparation for a particular destination (not journeys in general). If you don’t have a blog, I invite you to write in the comments. Include the link in the comments below by Thursday, May 23 at 1:00 p.m. EST.  When I write my post in response to this challenge on Friday, May 24, I’ll include your links in that post.

This will be an ongoing invitation, on the 4th Friday of each month. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂  If you’d like to read more about the topic, see: journeys: anticipation & preparation.

I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!

the ~ wander.essence ~ community

I invite you all to settle in and read posts from our wandering community. I promise, you’ll be inspired!

I am traveling from April 4 to May 10. If I cannot respond to or add your links due to wi-fi problems or time constraints, please feel free to add your links in both this post and my next scheduled post. If I can’t read them when you post them, I will get to them as soon as I can. Thanks for your understanding! 🙂

Thanks to all of you who wrote posts about anticipation and preparation. 🙂