Gardens of Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore

What a magical vacation Bob and I enjoyed in Northern Italy the last two weeks of September, one filled with beauty, laughter, and great inspiration for many stories yet to come.

Colorful homes in Burano
Venice’s Grand Canal
The birth of The Sun Also Rises
Shops of Bellagio on Lake Como

We experienced many wow moments every day as we walked with reverence through duomos that took centuries to build; toured the palazzo and gardens of Isola Bella, built as a gift of love from Carlo III Borromeo to his wife Isabella D’adda; cruised the Grand Canal in Venice lined with former palaces of nobility, dating back to the thirteenth century; walked the quaint lanes of colorful homes on Burano, the Venetian fisherman’s island known for their intricate lace making as well as their seafood; perused the shops of Bellagio on Lake Como, makers of some of the world’s finest silk; tapped into some of Ernest Hemingway’s inspiration from the Albergo Verbona where it’s said he wrote

Italian fruit market
Lunch in a quiet piazza

While these magnificent places have etched permanent grooves of joy and wonder in my memory, it’s some of the small moments I’ll remember most vividly. One of the best happened on our first full day in Milan when we stepped into a small fruit and vegetable market and were greeted warmly by the owner and his wife who knew not a word of English. They so enjoyed my yelps of delight when I saw ripe figs (my favorite fruit) tucked in between Italian-grown apples and pomegranates. A great conversation of pointing, smiling, and pantomiming ensued. They taught me how to say figs in Italian, fichi. From then on, I asked for fichi at every fruit stand I passed.

Peacock feeding time
Isola San Giulio on Lake Orta

That colorful, pleasant moment will linger. Add to this the moments of eating fruit, cheese, and prosciutto for lunch in a quiet piazza, drinking a cup of tea with my sweet husband while overlooking a beautiful lake, feeding a white peacock bits of bread, taking an after-dinner walk in the cool evening air and enjoying the lights reflecting on the water—those are the moments I want to capture on paper.

What about you? Do you have any vacation moments that stand out? What about a recent moment from your daily life that caused you to pause and take notice? Write one of these moments and share it with us in the comments section below. We’d love to experience this special time as well.

Barbara Powell, travel agent par excellence

I also want to put a plug in for my former client who made all the arrangements for our wonderful vacation. Barbara Powell, CTC, ACC (I’m not sure what all those letters mean, but they sound important.) recommended the tour company we used, set up our airfare, gave us great direction, and even helped me what to pack. She is an independent travel consultant who is affiliated with Travel Leaders in Palm Coast, Florida, and she specializes in cruises and tours. You can contact Barbara by phone at 386-447-7786 or email at 

We are already thinking about our next trip—Costa Rica—and I will again ask Barbara to arrange everything for us.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x