We just finished hosting our first In Touch In Tuscany retreat at the beautiful Villa Il Trebbiolo just outside of Florence. Scott Colglazier led us all through an engaging process of Rediscovering the Fire of Everyday Life. After the retreat concluded, Cheryl and I offered an optional tour of Florence. Of course the tour was followed with a scrumptious celebration dinner at our favorite restaurant Da Quei Ganzi, where Domenico and Matteo surprised us with even more incredible taste treats. It was a fantastic experience for all. (more…)

We had a plan. But things in Italy often times don’t go according to plan.

The idea was fairly straightforward: Grab a panino, sandwich then catch the 5:30 movie. Then after the movie, we planned to get a primo, first course dish, such as pasta just before making the rounds to all of Florence’s great museums since it was “Art Tuesday,” from 7-11 pm. The three of us were excited and couldn’t wait to see how the evening would unfold! (more…)

My Italian lawnmower and I have a long and rich history together. But, I have to admit that I was ready to part ways when it’s tattered grass-catcher-bag snagged the top of the sprinkler head, shearing it off and subsequently chopping it into hundreds of tiny unrecognizable pieces scattered across the lawn. I was really angry with my favorite little IBEA push-mower and was forced to take a “time-out” to cool down a little. (more…)

Whenever someone says, “Would you like to see the villa?” say yes!

First of all, let me clarify. The term villa has been used and abused in recent years as people have tried to attach romantic charm and elegance to contemporary houses. Well, don’t let them fool you. Even the largest and most expensive re-creations don’t measure up to the natural magic and inspirational quality of an authentic villa Italiana. Just take one step into the century-old gardens surrounding one of those gems and you’ll discover a peaceful calm like no other—just relax and soak in each delicious moment. (more…)

Highway 1.

Makes sense since it’s the first road you find after stepping ashore from the pacific. The bi-way hugging the coast of California from top to bottom is better known as the Pacific Coast Highway, or the PCH. We decided to take an inspirational winter road trip along that scenic route from San Diego to Mendocino . . . join us! (more…)

We were driving through the rolling hills and plains of central Indiana and southwestern Ohio a couple of weeks ago. It was smack dab in the middle of a winter freeze, so the patchy snow and the gray-brown horizon of leafless trees presented a rather somber welcome. In some strange way we hoped for an unusual blizzard, or a sudden ice storm to sweep through, as they can be incredibly beautiful . . . but those moments are few and fleeting as the winter months drone on. (more…)

We just finished our first year of this blog and had a blast writing for you! We thought it might be fun to share the most popular stories as voted by clicks from our readers around the world. Of course, writing daily, we never really know what will strike a chord with anyone, but remain committed to write from the heart about what naturally happens in this life of two Americans “trying to live as Italians.” We hope the experiences and lessons learned are both amusing and also thought provoking, as we all learn and grow together through shared experiences. Well . . . blah, blah, blah—let’s get on with the results! (more…)

I looked up and saw something incredible.

There on the hill across the valley was the star that I had all but forgotten about. It’s actually a deep woods surrounded by olive groves and old farm houses, where the edges of the woods are delineated be different plants so that it resembles a three-dimensional star gently laying on the hillside. I first saw it about 6 years ago when my mother (then in her early 80s) and her husband, Harold, were visiting for several weeks. I’ll never forget it. (more…)