Ciao Bella! long awaited Italian vacanza is finally here....this time tomorrow I will be in Italy.....woo hoo! We will be flying to Parma in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy and then driving to......

.....Bardi....isn't it beautiful? Bardi is a pretty small market town up in the mountains but it is the main town for a whole host of small in-laws came from these father in law Giovanni from Costageminiana and my mother in law Luisa from Casanova, just the other side of the mountains.
My in-laws both left for London to work when they were about seventeen years old- they grew up about 20 minutes away from each other in Italy but didn't meet until they got to the big city. I always think it is so romantic that they must have been within touching distance of each other in Italy, at the market or a hundred and one other places on many different occasions - since they were the same age and the villages they came from were really small, but they never actually saw each other! They married in London and then had their family here....I think my father in law would have gone back to live in Italy but my mother in law became very attached to London and so here they stayed.
My father in law used to tell his children that Costageminiana was the capital of Italy.....when my husband first went to school, the teacher asked the class what the capital of Italy was and you can guess his reply....he never lived it down....although I am sure his Daddy was probably secretly very proud and had a great chuckle over that!
I always got along very well with my in-laws, they were really special people, but I know I am hoping that this trip will give me another insight into them just by seeing where they came from - and the places that were undoubtedly always in their hearts.
I met my husband and his family about fifteen years ago but have never been to Bardi.....I have heard so many stories about it and seen so many photos though, that I almost forget I haven't actually visited! I am so excited to go and to take the children there. My husband spent most of his summer holidays there as a child so he has really happy memories of it and a very strong connection .....we still have a lot of family there so I am sure there will be a lot of reminiscing.....along with a lot of long dinners!!
As some of you probably know, my father in law passed away just this March and my mother in law just fifteen months before that, so I know that at times there will be some sadness while we are in father in law loved Italy with a passion and I know it's his voice that I will hear a lot of the time as we explore the places he grew up in.
They would be thrilled to know that we will be there on holiday. My father in law's younger brother and sister live there -I have to tell you that his brother, Zio Lazzaro, is the youngest sibling at age 70 - I saw him in March and he looks not a day over 50, seriously - a true testament to the happy and healthy life he has lived in a truly beautiful area. He and his wife used to own the local osteria and while my mother in law was a really wonderful cook, Zio Lazzaro's wife's cooking is apparently absolutely amazing...uh oh, I'm in not take my skinny jeans!
My brother in law has a new apartment there and that's where we will be staying....from the window you can see where my father in law lived and the church that he went to as a boy. My mother in law lived about 20 minutes away but the house is still there even though I don't think it has been lived in for some time.....I just can't wait to see it though.....I have always wondered what made an incredibly shy girl who was barely seventeen and who spoke not even one word of English leave her home to travel to a city as busy as and as alien as London must have's that for an adventure?
We will spend 6 days or so in and around Bardi and then we will drive via the coast and the very pretty town of Lucca to Florence.....

I have visited Florence a couple of times but not for many many years.....way too long! We will be spending around 4 days in Florence before flying back from Pisa....and hopefully seeing the famous leaning tower.

This is how I would like to be travelling......

......but right now, it is more like this, still some work to do....

I hope to blog while I am away.....we have our laptop and should have an internet connection....I can't wait to share more about our 100th post is coming up quite soon and I thought while I was away, I would do a little Italian shopping for my giveway :)
Arrivederci....ciao for now!


  1. Oh Simone ~ have a wonderful vacation!! I will miss you while you are gone so I hope you do get a chance to blog while you are gone. I know how it is though as I have not had chance since Gina arrived ~ but that is OK! Hugs & Love for a glorious time in Italy!

  2. I am so happy for you! I can hear the excitement in your voice! This is such a romantic and touching story. Have a wonderful and safe trip. Looking forward to many gorgeous pictures. xxx kim

  3. Such a sad story about your in-laws, they sounded very special. My family were from Florence, and I've always felt completely at home in Italy. Hope you'll take lots of pictures and post them on your blog.
    Buone vacanze!

  4. So awesome!! HAve a wonderful trip and take LOTS of pictures. It sounds like it is going to be a wonderful trip of a lifetime for you and the family. xoxo

  5. You lucky lady! Have a fabulous trip and take a gazillion photos! x

  6. Simone... I just loved reading about your in-laws...they didn't have a restaurant in Winchmore Hill did they?
    I'm a bit late in commenting today as I'm getting ready for our Italian holiday,,,we were in Florence this time last year..I just loved it soooo soooo much.When you turn the corner and you see the Duomo..WOW...and the Uffizi Gallery,and Michelangelo's David and the Ponte Vecchio and the shops, and the museums, and the mime artists and the pavement artists, and the towers, and the art, and the food, I forgot the food !! oh.. I could go on and on.. Hang on a minute I DO go on and on, don't I ? !!!!
    Your holiday sounds wonderful and I can't wait to hear stories and see pictures..
    I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday and a safe journey XXXX

  7. Reason I said that is 'cos I'm from Winchmore Hill and have frequented all of the Italian restaurants from Enfield to Palmers Green !! Used to take my Dad to Giovannis restaurant in Winchmore Hill , hence the question. There's also Punto's, Studio Pasta and Abetones that all belong to the same family and have been there for years. I went to Abetones for my 21st birthday and you know how ancient I am !!!
    I also went to Latymer School... I expect you know of that as well !!! XXXX

  8. Have a lovely trip..have been to Italy so many times and can never ever get enough!!! So superb!!!

  9. I absolutely loved reading every word of this post. You are going to have such an incredible time, and the history and family connection will just add to your traveling bliss and soon-to-be made wonderful memories.

    Europe is so wonderful, as you already know, and I am thrilled you and your family will be enjoying such beautiful places.

    Bon voyage...

  10. HI Simone. What a lovely heartfelt post. I am going to miss you and your gorgeous posts which bring happiness into my day. But I do hope you have the most wonderful vacation and enjoy your time with your family and in-laws. I am so envious of your trip to Italy, I long to get back there myself. Have a GREAT, safe and happy trip! Lovely images and lovely words from a fabulous gal.

  11. Oh I was getting all misty reading this post. Your in-laws sound just wonderful and to try and understand them more is just beautiful. I was so touched by this post. So sad to hear they have passed.

    I know you will have a fabulous time and I'm trying to hold back the envy. I just adore travel.

    Love and best wishes for safe travel and hope to hear from you soon :)


  12. Have a wonderful time and make sure you have heaps of wonderful images and stories to tell on your return.

  13. I'm so excited for you. It will be me. But you will have so much fun and make wonderful memories. Please take lots of pics...I can't wait to see them.

    Italy is on my list of places I must see before I die. For right now I'll live vicariously through you:) Safe travels.

  14. Have a joyous time & when you return you need to download a bit of Keith ...or go to his myspace page & listen for free!!!
    Ciao signora!!!

  15. Have a wonderful vacation!

  16. Totally jealous. My dream is to go to Italy and explore... you have to post pictures and tell us all about it!! Have a safe trip and my this trip bring peace, comfort and enjoyment to you and your husband.

  17. Enjoy! I went to Italy last year and loved every second. Take lots of pictures!

  18. You always have the best photos! Have a fantastic trip! I love the story of how your in laws met, and am so sorry to hear of their passing...

    Please enjoy your trip and share what you can (during or) when you get back!

  19. What a jetsetter! I am so jealous! I hope you are having a fab time and am looking forward to seeing your photos! x Jayne

  20. Beautiful family heritage there!

  21. Such a gorgeous story told from your very big heart Simone! My girlfriend's MIL at 86 has headed off alone to her little village in Sicily this week from Adelaide. She hasn't been back since she came to Australia in the 1950's. One of my friend's twin 25 year old boy's is in the US presently, but is going to join his Nonna next week to meet all the relations & also so she can translate for him! Have a fantastic trip, & I'm sure you'll feel your dear PIL's along with you every moment.
    Millie ^_^

  22. Have an amazing time....see you when you get back....take lots of photos for us!!!!! I so want that pink suitcase!!!! xoxoox

  23. Oh Simone! I am all teary after reading your beautiful post! Have a wonderful fabulous time in Italy. I can only imagine how excited you are. To reconnect with Luc's parents and family's heritage in such a way is absolutely priceless. And so important for the kids and I hope it helps Luc's heart heal as well. I'll be thinking of you ~ Travel safe and have fun! oxox Lara

  24. Oh my gosh... I hope you are having a fabulous time on your much needed get away! Can't wait to see pictures and hear all about it! xoxo

  25. What a beautiful story...My dream is to move to Italy someday. Everyone who knows me, knows how much that means to me..although I'm not Italian. Isn't that funny? The pictures are absolutely breathtaking. Wow! I can't wait to hear more about your trip and see pictures..Enjoy! I'm a brand new follower!

  26. Have a wonderful time...I just LOVE Italy Cannot wait to here all your tales...:)cate

  27. Hi my name is Madison. I am fascinated by your blog and that you live in london. Europe looks like a cool place to live and I am looking forward to visiting your blog!!!

    Love, Madison


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