Italy sojourn: From pleasure to pickpockets

Italy sojourn: From pleasure to pickpockets

by Betsy Herbert

I got a flight on July 13 from Barcelona to Florence to meet my friend Sue, who was flying in the same day from San Francisco. She’d recently discovered that her grandmother’s family was from Sicily, so she decided to join me in Italy for two weeks.

We would start out in Florence for a few days, then work our way south by train through Rome and Naples to Sicily, where we would hang out for a week and explore. Then we would take the train back to Rome, where a couple of days later, Sue would fly back home and I would continue on the train to Austria.

The heat wave that had plagued my trip to Spain continued in Italy. We grabbed a cab at the Florence airport to our hotel, the Villa Nardi, a guesthouse in the foothills above the city. The neighborhood reminded me of Embassy Row in Washington, D.C. . . . Grand old stone buildings, wrought iron gated driveways, and huge trees. The doors to the villa were about 10 feet tall, with brass knockers the size of volley balls. The cicadas were having a field day in the hot weather, as were the mosquitoes. I was greatly relieved to find that our room had air conditioning.

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