Layers of interest

posted by Cheryl Alexander –

After nearly four dozen trips to Italy over the last fifteen years I am pleased to say that my enthusiasm for traveling to this lovely country has not been dampened.  It still holds levels of mystery and a myriad of unexplored places that I couldn’t hope to uncover in a couple of lifetimes.  It appeals to my senses in so many ways with its culture of caring for things that are important such as family, history, the arts and conservation of all things natural or beautiful.

One of the first things I noticed when I started visiting Italy were the bell shaped recycle containers that each town or city displays prominently, as a constant reminder for everyone to be aware of caring for the land. Fields are carefully laid to fallow between crops; an economy of energy is observed by all in many ways. Small cars, small refrigerators, laundry either flapping in the breeze or hanging out of second story windows to dry because in Italy few have automatic dryers, even if they may have a washing machine. An irresponsible use of energy, say the Italians.

And art is felt at every turn, every juncture, down to the base level of graffiti, (most notably in the transportation areas of cities.) A church on every corner means a museum has been erected to house not only a place of worship of a favored entity but to worship the sanctity of art. This is a country where there are thousands of archeological sites stopping time so that study can be made of the multiple layers of history explaining Italy’s culture and civilizations that have made their mark on the land. These sites are as common as a Starbuck’s coffee house in the U.S.

I love the area I call the “tri corners” in central Italy, where Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria meet. There are visible differences in the landscape of each of the regions but more notable are the differences in such things as food, grape varietals and customs or language. Very subtle differences sometimes, greater contrasts at others, but they are evident. Italy has only been a whole country for a short time and it took a couple of hundred years for all the states to concur that they would be whole at some point. I can see that it will be easy for me to continue making two or three trips a year to Italy and never tire of what I will find as there are more interesting things to see and do, than imaginable. Layers and layers of people, places and things to keep one’s interest!

Cheryl has been traveling to Europe, particularly Italy, for more than fourteen years. Her interest in Italy, its history, art and rich culture led her to purchase property near Orvieto, allowing her to spend more time there. Cheryl’s exploration of Italy include the regions of Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio, as well as the areas around Venice and south towards Sorrento. She continues to travel into Italy’s less traveled regions, and enjoys sharing her discoveries with others. Relaxed, leisurely tours are her specialty with an emphasis on the comfort of her guests.Cheryl spends the rest of her time near the beach in San Diego, cavorting with her two small grandchildren. She’s an avid reader, health advocate and community volunteer. Her career as a social worker brings an understanding of people’s needs to the tour business.

Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.

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