My Love Affair With Italy: Memoir of a single woman's travels to Italy spanning 45 years from a teenager to retirement Info

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As a 17-year old Italian American from New Jersey, Debbie became
obsessed with the idea of traveling to Italy, and the summer after
completing her junior year in high school, she realizes her dream when
her parents agree to send her on a student tour for 40 days with no one
she knew. Friendships form with another American student, and with
Cesare, an Italian medical student living in the same "hotel."
But what transpires is something no one ever expected, especially her
mom.
Over the next 45 years, Debbie returns 11 more times, mostly
alone. Other trips include her two best friends, another with her
father, and horseback riding adventures in the Chianti Region of Tuscany
with cousins. Some of the places visited include Rome, Tuscany, the
Almalfi Coast, Sicily, Capri, and a 2,500 year-old village in Umbria
where the only mode of transportation allowed is a moped or donkey. One
hundred years after her great grandmother migrated to America, Debbie
locates her family in the most unusual way, culminating with a
heartwarming reception.
Rarely staying in hotels, My Love Affair
With Italy describes each of the trips, all the types of accommodations
such as the agriturismi (farmhouses), the apartments, vineyards, the
medieval villages, monastery, villas, and horseback riding centers she
stayed in addition to the romances and friends met along the way. At
the age of 50, Debbie learns how to horseback ride English style and
takes a 100-mile tour cantering through Tuscany, something she was not
nearly qualified to do. Within a year, she becomes an exchange student
and enrolls in school in Siena, one of Tuscany's most magnificent
cities, to learn Italian and moves in with a local family, she not
knowing Italian and they not knowing English. While in school, she
befriends a German woman who invites her to stay at her home in the
beautiful Bavarian Alps during her next visit to Europe, and Debbie
accepts in an attempt to practice Italian with her former classmate, but
the trip becomes a shocking revelation.
The book also details
the "jewels" of Rome not mentioned in brochures such as The
Scala Sancta, the Holy Stairs, holy because they are said to be the
stairs that Jesus climbed on his way to his trial before Pontius Pilate,
and the Aventine Keyhole, a nondescript-looking door on the Aventine
Hill, neatly placing the dome of St. Peter’s right in the
center.
Each trip also details why she returns each time, the
struggles endured at home after becoming a caregiver, the 50-year
friendships that get her through it all, and the shocking way her father
shows his presence in Piazza Navona. Lastly, four decades after it all
began, there are very surprising reunions and the most unusual
romance.

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