As Judy and I prepare for our three-week adventure in Italy (yes, it’ coming up fast!) I’m reminded that Italy has and will always have a place in my heart.

This week I reached back into my archives and wanted to share this essay that I wrote back in 2014 after my month long stay in Italy while I was editing my first book.

This essay was entitled – Wild Hydrangeas

My senses were being bombarded…

The sun always seems brighter and more powerful in Italy than any other place I’d been except Australia.

As I step off the plane and take my first deep breath on Italian soil my heart leaps as I feel like I’m returning home after a long absence…

Strangely I always have the same feeling of being at peace when I come to Italy.

Sort of weird but comforting at the same time.

Initially I had put it down the cool and romantic idea of being in Italy, seriously what’s not to love about it.

Although traveling by oneself isn’t so romantic per see, I think the real allure to traveling alone is that you’re completely in control of your timeline and agenda with no need to compromise unless you choose it.

Trust me travelling alone can become addictive…

The more I thought about it the more I felt unnerved and a little off balance with the sense of serenity that I was experiencing.

Why did I feel so deeply about a country that I’d visited only a handful of times during my lifetime, yet seemed to have such a deep affinity and appreciation of?

If you believe in living prior lives, perhaps you could put it down to that, or perhaps it’s just one of those mysterious things that just “is” without a reason.

Italy is and will always be my favourite place on earth, yep even after Canada and Australia.

It’s always the little things that I notice when I come to Italy.

For some reason everything is a little different here…

There always seems to be an overabundance of colours, shapes and spectacular vistas that make up this most beautiful part of the world.

It seemed that everywhere I glanced there they were, at the side of the road as I drove toward my destination, in front gardens of the houses that I passed, languidly growing in ravines and even deep in the forests and along hiking trails…wherever I seemed to be they were there – omnipresent if you will.

Wild hydrangeas were everywhere…

When I visit Italy, I often rent an apartment in a village called San Giovanni di Bellagio, as I want to feel the vibe of the village and observe the inhabitants as they go about their daily lives.

San Giovanni is a small fishing village set on Lake Como about 2km from Bellagio.  With its narrow-cobbled streets that are too narrow for cars, it’s the perfect place for me to get acquainted with my Italian soul.

Most days started the same way, after a lazy breakfast of cappuccino and fresh croissants at the Café San Remo I decide in the most serendipitous way what I’ll do for the day.

Sometimes I’d jump on the next ferry with camera in hand and explore the villages that dot the miles of lake only to discover which direction it’s headed.

Nothing like an open heart and a free spirit to set the day off right!

Each summers day in Italy starts the same way.

The sky is an iridescent blue or as the Italians call it “Azzurro”.  This gorgeous sky is accompanied by the softest of breezes, the type that caresses and embraces you warmly.

However, it’s more than that it’s the actual feel of the air, it’s the aroma that fills my senses.

It’s reminiscent of my childhood as the hot sun has a baking effect on the plants, shrubs, and grass.

However, the most beautiful and overpowering scent is from the wild hydrangea’s that seem omnipresent in every direction.

This rich and pungent scent was identical to my mother’s garden.  Thus, finding myself, often many times a day being transported back to my childhood in rural Australia.

Another thing I notice is that when you stand in the sun it prickles the skin on your arms and neck, but in a good way, in a way that makes you feel alive and healthy.

The type that gets deep into your bones, yeah, you know the one I mean.

I also found myself closing my eyes and breathing deeply as I listened to the orchestra of sound made by the cicadas in the nearby trees and bushes, another trigger in my childhood.

This beautiful natural sound harmonized my overpowering sense of peace and tranquillity, I felt like I was in my spiritual home…

Could it be Italy or was it just my childhood being triggered?

I like to think it’s Italy on its own merits, although I’m sure others might see it differently…

Now you can see why Italy has etched its way into my heart and spirit through my senses…

Personally, I can’t wait to take Judy to Italy and let her discover this beautiful land and live, even for only a short while a la dolce vita lifestyle.

Until next week