Jana & Lorna – Week 4!

Ok, June 1 – just at the 4-week point!  Did a lot in the last week. My “non” Il Volo related weekend over the holiday weekend was quite busy, but I managed to research and make some decisions. I did take Bernard’s advice and looked into the links he had submitted in his comments. Ironically, I was already looking into Sienna and Chianti.

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The Palio horse race I believe, is not for me. However, I did book a day tour on July 2, and it goes near where the horse race is! So, we will see if anything happens to our tour. On the first day we arrive, I booked a “make your own pizza and gelato” tour in Tuscany. We travel by a mini-bus through the region at about 6p to this villa to make our own pizza and gelato and get a history on how wine is made in the Chianti region. Then we get to eat what we make! Lol! That is on June 30. Not sure how jet-lagged we will be, but I just remember that I couldn’t sleep the first night I was in Germany! The next day is the concert and I left that day pretty open for sight-seeing and museum/church hopping. Wanted to stay as close to town as possible and to the Santa Croce – as we will be so close. Hope to get sightings of the guys, etc. Maybe even be able to listen to the sound check? Of course, probably loud enough, could listen from our hotel!


I’m going to be sure to take my VIP passes from the concerts and from the Flight Crew Fan Faire – maybe I’ll get special access to somewhere? As I’d mentioned, July 2, I booked an all day tour into Sienna and Gimignano, and another city I cannot pronounce. It is a 10 hour tour, but we should be back no later than 8p or so, still plenty of time to get to bed and get up early the next morning. We are now spending a night in Venice!


Yes, July 3 is Venice day! We take the train from Florence, into Venice, arriving approximately 10:30a. I booked an afternoon tour to the Murano Glass factory and Buranoit’s about a 4 hour tour. Should get us back early evening for a nice dinner, and again, lots of time to get a good night’s sleep. The next morning, we again take the train to Verona, just about an hour train ride from Venice. We arrive by 10a or so and have the whole day to tour Verona. Again, I left the day open to whatever and wherever the moment takes us. I doubt we’ll be able to get too near the Arena di Verona before the concert though?


I watched the Verona concert again and was trying to figure out where our seats will be. Well, we will be really far back! We are in the “no cushion/no backrest” zone, but the 2nd row, which is pretty good, and they are assigned seats. We really weren’t paying too much attention when we booked our tickets for Verona, but we will be there in spirit and the guys will be about as big as our thumbnails, if we are lucky! Maybe even our little fingers? Lol!


On Monday, Lorna came over and we actually booked our day trips, train tickets, and reserved the car. I am getting a lot of good advice from people who have been there before, so that is nice. Yes, it is getting more real! Still a few decisions to make, but it’s coming along. I found a different train website and decided it would be cheaper to just get direct train tickets for each trip, instead of the Eurail pass. So, that is what I did, and they are first class tickets on the fast trains – they weren’t much more than the 2nd class.


The day after Verona, we will be taking the train again to Rome, where we pick up the rental car. We also still need to get our international driver’s licenses from AAA. One of the easier things on our list of things to do. Even though Lorna will be doing the driving, I think I will get one too, just in case….


I checked with Dani on the “bug” issue and yikes, there are mosquitoes there! I am going to be fresh, foreign blood for them. I’m a mosquito magnet and I purposely don’t go out at night, if I can help it to avoid them – now I will be outside for HOURS for 2 concerts! Any suggestions on bug spray or repellant? Should I take some with me, or try to buy it there? I was also just reading today that the Zika virus is in Italy! Hope the guys are protected!


And gasoline? We really can’t complain about our gas prices here! Dani was saying they are about 1.60 euros a liter! That’s like what, almost $7.00 a gallon or so (3.78 liters to 1 gallon)? Good thing we are renting a very small economy car!


Also, had a little anxiety attack on Sunday. As I was creating our itinerary, for some reason, I wanted to double check our seat assignments. So, I signed in on Delta to check our seats. Uh oh, we weren’t in Kansas anymore, or the comfort class either, on our return flight home from Rome! We were in row 18 and that was preferred seating, but didn’t say comfort class. We paid extra for the upgrades, so I had to change our seats back to rows 12/13. We are at least behind each other. Maybe we can switch seats with someone at check-in? Yes, getting chest pains there. I had to tell myself “breathe, Jana, breathe…” I had a few glasses of wine and some aspirin and felt a lot better an hour later! I’m going to check again later, just to make sure we still have those seats!!


Also found another Flight Crew member who will be joining us for both concerts. She is from New Orleans. She was also able to book a few of the same hotels we are in for Florence, Venice, and Verona. She has been there before, so it will be nice to hang with someone for a little while to show us around town!


Since many of you responded that you don’t want me to limit my ramblings here, I will continue to give you my play-by-play of my planning – all the details! I just hope I don’t pass my panic attacks on to you!


That just about sums it up for now – still many things to do, like what to pack, we can check a bag for free, so do I take the 2nd bag? Not used to having to claim luggage… lol! The rest of our trip is fairly open after we get to Silvi, except for an outing to the beach.

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Ok, what is next on my agenda? I have a few things up my sleeve… have to leave you with a little cliffhanger? Lol!  And, what do we have here?  Another empty frame?  lol!

Oh, one more thing… I bought a 128GB micro SD card disk for my phone for extra room for pictures and videos – you think that’s enough?  It was the largest my phone would hold! lol!  Geez, I remember the old days when my PC was upgraded at work and it had a whole 1GB of space on it!

Ciao – Jana!

21 thoughts on “Jana & Lorna – Week 4!”

  1. Jana, I am getting so excited for you!! Your post is wonderful. You have mapped out such a nice itinerary. Looks like you are going to be busy and make the most of your time over there. Seeing them in concert will be sweeter than your gelato! Are you sure there won’t be some space in your suitcase to take a few of us with you?? 🙂 Have fun continuing to plan..that is so much fun in itself!

    1. Jane – I love that “Sweeter than your gelato!” 🙂 You can try to contact Disney for their “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” laser? Lol! You will always be with me in spirit! Grazie!

  2. Jana, your plans are so exciting!! It will be a wonderful trip for you & Lorna. Seeing the guys in concert in their beloved Italia will be the experience of a lifetime!!!

  3. I really, really want to take that cooking class! What a perfect thing to do in the perfect place. I would also like to say that I want to do that other thing too, but I can’t bring myself to imagine seeing the Boys at the Arena di… I can’t even write it.

    You go! You lucky girls!

    1. Yes, someone at work recommended taking a cooking class while there and that was one that popped up! Sounded like great fun – what could be better – pizza, gelato, and wine in the heart of Tuscany? Ok, we all know what could be better, but we will take what we can get! Lol! 🙂 Grazie!!

  4. Jana! So excited for you! I recommend Deep Woods Off bug spray as your bug spray for evenings . Get the liquid not the spray. You may have to transfer some to the airline approved small bottles.
    The area around the arena in Verona is huge! You may be able to get close unless they start holding people back in the afternoon. Good luck and bon viaggio, my Sweet

    1. Lynn – thanks for the recommendation on the bug spray – I will look into that! We’ll see how close we can get! 🙂 Grazie!!

  5. Jana, bring your own repelent, there are not drugstores in every corner like here. Also, don’t forget to get a couple of plug adapters! That was a real issue for me in Rome. Just google Italy plug adapters. Keep writing, girl! We went to Rome for two weeks last year and it was wonderful!

    1. Jana, for plug adapters go to Amazon. They are the least expensive by far, and you can usually get a set of 3 or 4. Remember you’ll have to plug in your phone, and maybe a hair dryer and any other electronic gizmo you might bring with you. It is better to have more than not enough. I had four on my last trip, they came in a little box that was easy to pack.

      1. Penina – thanks for the tip! Yes, I have Amazon Prime this year, so am spending probably more than I should on things, but they make it so easy! Lol! I did check it out and you can get a 4 pack for around $10? Yes, I was thinking I needed more than one, also! 🙂 Grazie!

    2. Emilia – thanks, I will definitely do that! It’s so great to get advice from everyone who has already been there! 🙂

  6. Jana, what a wonderful trip. It’s good you are young. Your itinary seems exhausting. Good luck and enjoy. Joanie G

  7. I have done that Murano glass factory tour and I found it fascinating but then I am a big fan of decorative glass! A big plus on that tour is the lovely boat ride through the Lagoon to Murano. I’ll also be interested to hear where you stayed overnight in Venice. We stayed off the main area which wasn’t nearly as cool to me.

    1. Pirate – good to hear it is a nice tour! We have a company not too far from me here in Dearborn that does the glass also and they said several of their glass blowers have learned in Murano! I am really looking forward to that. I also make jewelry and have made some glass beads, also at this place in Dearborn. After taking that class I had a new appreciation for why they cost so much! We will be staying at Hotel Alexander, which is near the train station. I thought that was more important than being near Murano? Yes, as my one friend says, we are “glass junkies!” 🙂 Grazie!!

  8. I’m just so impressed with your managing to do so much on your own and really planning a wonderful, action-packed trip. Burano was a lovely island with brightly colored buildings and a leaning bell tower. They also had beautiful lace clothes and other items. Love hearing all about the trip and to see Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca in Italy is a dream come true!

    1. Margaret – so nice to know I chose some good tours. It’s always a real gamble and you have to rely on the internet, which is not always so reliable, but I’ve been lucky so far! 🙂 Yes, I don’t think I’m going to believe it until my feet touch the ground in Florence! Grazie!

  9. Jana, you are clearly a great planner and you have chosen an excellent itinerary! I know that you will have a wonderful and special time.

    Can I offer you a little help to pronounce “San Gimignano?” The ‘gn’ letter combination and sound is very common in Italian – see Ignazio!! You have the same four letters in both words – “igna.” The ‘gn’ sound is very similar to the Ñ or ñ (enyay) sound in Spanish. You could pronounce Gimignano as Gee-mean-yano but Jim-mean-yano is also close!

    We were the London Palladium concert last night and I will post my thoughts when I have calmed down a bit! My wife and I had a “never to be forgotten” evening!

    1. Bernard – thank you for the tips on the pronunciation….sometimes it’s hard for the brain to get to the tongue to say things we are not used to! 🙂 Yes, I saw a quick video of the meet/greet – were you there? I’m sure it was an awesome time – did they speak English? Looking forward to a few sneak videos if anyone took any? Grazie!!

      1. Yes, they announced at the beginning that they would speak Engliah so that everyone in the audience would understand even though a large proportion of the spectators were Italians living in London. Speaking English allowed them to make some jokes about drinking tea and Igna was able to do his regal wave like Queen Elizabeth.

        We did not make the M&G because we travelled to London by train and it would have been difficult to catch the last train if we had stayed longer. However, we have seen them so often on Italian television that we feel that we know them already.

        We left for London almost immediately after my wife returned from work. The stress of trying to find convenient parking in central London might have prevented us from arriving in a relaxed state of mind. So, taking the train was the safest option.

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