One of the things I dreamed of while working as a driven executive was the luxury of lengthy vacations – particularly to bucket list places like Italy. So on Sept. 4th, my husband and I took off for almost a month to Italy and Greece. Predictably, we went to RomePompeii, the Amalfi CoastCapriFlorence,Tuscany and Venice. Each so different.

In Rome, we felt the horrors of the Colesseum, the glory of the Vatican and people crying while listening to the Pope in St. Peter’s Square, crushes of tourists, one of the worst restaurant experiences of our lives and a divine spot called the First Luxury Art Hotel – an exquisite boutique hotel.

I will never forget the plaster casts of families found dead by archeologists in Pompeii.

Florence was our favourite. Charming streets, art galore, food to die for and another great hotel (Palazzo Vecchietti, where Francesca is an angelic hostess).

Tuscany’s dwelling place was an 11th C. villa frequented by a pope called La Suvera. I love all things medieval, so this place hit the sweet spot.

On to Venice, where the canals with “buses” and gondolas looked picture perfect. Too many people near San Marco Square. Guggenheim Museum was magnifico as was a lovely little museum dedicated to Vivaldi.

We met our friends Dan and Carol for a cruise through the Greek Isles and utter pampering.

Soaking up so much history and beauty, while losing all track of time was hedonistic and thrilling. I can’t remember why I felt a need to work all the time before. Wine and cheese and long walks, and new vistas. This retirement stuff is groovy.

The first photo is a lovely restaurant in Sorrento called  Marziale, 2nd is our room in Tuscany at La Suvera, 3rd is Michelangelo’s incomparable David, 4th is my sweetheart and me on formal night on the ship.