The following is an introduction for my book, Forty Days in Italy Con La Mia Famiglia.
And so it begins…
I was running as fast as I could pulling two suitcases on wheels, constantly looking back to make sure that the remainder of our family of five was close behind. My 10-year-old daughter Brianna, with two bags, was right behind me running swiftly. My 7-year old son AJ, with the look of terror on his face, was close behind her, and my wife Jill, was last in line strolling our 4-year old Penelope as fast as she could.
It was the beginning of what would be an unforgettable forty-day journey. Our first stop was set to be Lerici in northwestern Italy, close to Le Cinque Terre, but it was a very long and complicated 24 hours of travel to get there.
We were in the Florence train station and had arrived at Track 18 where we thought our 1 pm train was about to leave, only to find out at 12:57 that we had misread the board and our train was on Track 1A. I immediately started sprinting and the rest of the family followed.
My poor son AJ, who has anxiety, was crying the entire sprint, but there was no time to stop and console him. I was asking everyone I passed, as I was running, where this mysterious Track 1A was.
Finally, we found it, and just as we arrived to the train, before we could get on, the doors closed.
I stopped, as terrible thoughts of sitting in the station for hours with three young, upset, and tired children invaded my mind. Then all of a sudden, a homeless woman who saw us running, walked up to the train, pushed a button, and the doors opened.
My wife and I looked at each other with the look that screamed “we made it.” We all smiled, thanked the woman, and climbed aboard the train. As we unloaded our luggage and found seats, the dryness in my throat and tightness in my calves became more apparent. I sat down and tried to gather myself.
Little did I realize that the up and down emotional roller coaster that we had experienced over the last 15 minutes was only a small sampling of what we would experience over the next forty days.
From the planning stages, which included connecting with living relatives, through research and learning the Italian language to our very early flight leaving Napoli Airport headed back to New Jersey on day forty, it was truly an unbelievable experience.
I am excited to bring you along on this journey with us through these excerpts and eventually the full book, and in doing so, I will provide you with a blueprint and certainly some inspiration for taking a once-in-a-lifetime trip of your own.
You can check out my book Forty Days in Italy Con La Mia Famiglia here.
Co-host of The Italian American Podcast
Author of Forty Days in Italy Con La Mia Famiglia