Around 2-3 weeks ago, my husband had to go out of town for work. Rather than stay alone, I thought one of my daughters could spend the week with me. Nope. That didn’t work out. When I mentioned this to my sister, Cathy, she told me she would fly up from Florida and spend the week with me. I was thrilled. Then a few days before she was scheduled to arrive, she called me, crying over the phone, that her best friend of 52 years, who worked as a stewardess for an airline, called and offered her a free week in Italy at her family’s beach hide-away on the Mediterranean Sea, complete with a free, stand-by airline ticket. My sister was drawn to stay with me but was riddled with guilt over wanting to join her friends in Italy more. Of course, you should go! I screamed. It’s a chance in a lifetime! One week free on the Italian Riviera at a local, non-tourist resort, with all your long-time Italian friends could not be passed up!

So, off my sister went. And I was miserable every single second she was there. Thankfully, Cathy texted me most days. She landed in Rome first, spent a few days there sightseeing and bought me an 18K Italian gold necklace to make me feel better. But it didn’t work. I was super jealous and cried a lot over it. Not that either I or my sister had never been to Italy before. I’ve been going to Italy since I was 16 years old to spend time with my Italian cousins. My father was born in a small fishing village just south of Venice. Truthfully, my dad’s area is the real Italian Riviera. But, I digress. The last time I was in Italy was 2007 and I hadn’t realized, until my sister went back to Italy, how much I had missed my father’s homeland and all my relatives and cousins.

Cathy texted me when she arrived at the appointed beach resort. It was at a locale that was halfway between Rome and Naples. It was a little unknown, non-tourist town called Sperlonga. They arrived by train. Sperlonga is a coastal town in the province of Latina, Italy, about halfway between Rome and Naples. It is best known for the ancient Roman sea grotto discovered in the grounds of the Villa of Tiberius containing the important and spectacular Sperlonga sculptures, which are displayed in a museum on the site. Click here for more info.

Truthfully, everything with me was sort of fine….till Cathy sent me this video:

I immediately texted my sister and told her to go to the front desk and book two weeks in August for next year. That’s it! I screamed (while pea green with massive jealousy) we’re going back to Italy!! The resort that my sister was staying at, with her friends, was something out of a fairytale fantasy land. This is the kind of vacation most mortals only dream of. Cathy texted me back that the cost for two weeks at this resort was $6,000. WTF? It was $3,000 a week! But it includes breakfast and dinner, my sister retorted. That would help keep the costs down. A quick check on round trip airfare from NY to Rome would be an additional $1800 to $2,000 dollars. WTF, was right!

Undaunted, I said to my sister, why don’t we go to Pesaro next summer, just as we have often talked about all the time? Pesaro is the homeland of our father and all our cousins, aunts and uncles would be there! Cathy thought that was a most perfect idea and within one hour, I had my 4 cousins on Instant Messenger through my Facebook account, told them Cathy and I were coming next August and they found us a motel room or a smallish cottage to rent, one block from the beach within minutes.

So, that’s it folks. My sister Cathy and I, and now our two husbands will be coming along also. We will be spending two weeks next summer on the real Italian Riviera, in Pesaro, along the Adriatic Sea. (I used to go during the summer months and stay with my Aunt Elsa). Click here for more info. Pesaro is a town on Italy’s Adriatic coast. Near the grand Piazza del Popolo, Casa Rossini is the birthplace of the 19th-century opera composer Gioachino Rossini, and features prints, sheet music and multimedia displays. The Civic Museums within Mosca Palace house Renaissance paintings and a large collection of ceramics. Northwest, Mount San Bartolo Natural Park has trails and sweeping vistas of the Adriatic Sea.

Pesaro is another non-tourist town, known for its beaches but NOT as expensive as its southern neighbors. Plus, we have family ties there and it will be great to re-connect with all our cousins once again. My father and his sister shared ownership of a small beach house in Pesaro that they inherited from their parents. Once my father and Zia Elsa died, my cousins sold the home and travel to different locations each August since then. They assured me they will be waiting for us in Pesaro come next August and we are all looking forward to re-connecting with each other once again.

Side Note: I have one year to save up money and book our airfare when prices are more reasonable or drop in price.

Double Side Note: there’s no such thing as a free lunch. When it came time for my sister and her friend to return back to America, they couldn’t get on any stand-by flights. That meant my sister had to buy a one way ticket back home at a cost of $900. (her friend ALWAYS flies free) Plus they had to wait a few days till there were seats available, which meant they had to rent a week at the resort. Since there were three of them, they split the cost at $1,000 each! Thank goodness my sister had the money. She didn’t mind the cost because it was a fabulous, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and she wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

Ciao, amore. Needless to say, I’ll be brushing up on my Italian. Arrivederci Roma!!

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