By The Road To: Travel Comments

Italy has a charm all of its own. History radiates from every corner; the architecture, art, fashion, food, and hospitality – they all justify this country’s high reputation among tourists from all over the world. Whether visiting the two largest cities, Rome and Milan, the many smaller but beautiful cities such as Venice and Florence, or the rural regions, including the lakes in the north, Tuscany and Umbria in the center, or Positano on the southern Amalfi Coast — each place offers much to see and do.                 
My favorite area is Tuscany as it provides a combination of nature and country living alongside the opportunity to explore the most beautifully preserved medieval towns. The bright sunshine accentuates some of the most breathtaking colors and views I have ever seen, and walking down the alleyways of the small old towns, you cannot but appreciate the beauty of walking back in time.
Starting with the towns of northern Tuscany: Florence, Pisa and Lucca, a beautiful and charming place I visited for the first time on our last trip. Lucca is surrounded by a high ring of walls which are perfect for a good walk or bike ride, sightseeing from above.
Continuing on to the central area: Greve in Chianti, San Gimignano, Volterra and Certaldo, each possessing a unique atmosphere, special characteristics and lovely, secluded spots, not to mention Siena with its legendary medieval square, the Piazza del Campo.Each of these places has left a different souvenir in my memory, creating a mixture of images and tastes which help to replenish my reservoir of inspiration:
The Tower of Pisa and its surrounding complex made me contemplate the beauty of imperfection.
In San Gimignano is one of the best galleries I have ever visited, Galleria Gagliardi where I was introduced to the wonderful world of contemporary Italian art. Danilo Martinis is but one example of the exceptional Italian artists represented there.
In Certaldo I was introduced to the great cooking classes of Giuseppina Piggolato who taught me some wonderful Italian recipes, including how to prepare classic fresh pasta, but above all gave me a chance to become familiar with local life, buy  ingredients from local farmers, and learn about Italian traditions. 
Volterra provided the finest Italian ice cream.
Image on the left: Danilo Martinis presenting at the Galleria Gagliardi gallery.
These are the moments and experiences, selected from every place we visit, that shape our view of the world, enrich our lives and influence our perception of how to live our lives better.

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