Jane and Marie and our Trip of a Lifetime

Wonderful, wonderful Italy.  You opened your arms wide, embraced us like family and you didn’t even know who we were.  You  explained your love of all things ancient and modern.  You shared with us food from sea, land and tree.  You showed us amazing shades of green and clear blue.  Your culture suited us.  Your weather was fine.  Your landscapes unbelievable!  Your food, well…superb.  But your people…your people…I don’t have the words to describe the warmth we encountered from those unforgettable Italian people.   No wonder our Boys can’t wait to get home.  No wonder the Trevi Fountain is so full of coin.  No wonder those of you who have been there desire desperately to return.  Haven’t been there?  Go now so that you can begin to plan your return trip soon.

To tell all we did and all we saw would certainly fill a book.  We went everywhere. We saw everything!  We were tired yet ready.  Overwhelmed yet willing.  And most of all, we wish we could have brought it all home to you, our beloved Crew.

Jane, sitting next to the airplane window just as it was beginning to turn daylight drew my attention to funny looking clouds below.  We were still about an hour out of Milan, Italy. Then Jane said, “wait, are those mountains?”  Sure enough they were.  It was just about then the sun decided to rise. It was orange and it turned the snow on those Swiss Alps a beautiful deep golden color.  It took our breath away.  We stared in stunned silence afraid to even look away long enough to grab a camera.  We were truly transfixed by those snow capped peaks glistening in the gold of our first European sunrise. Oh, It would take a better writer than I to explain to you clearly what that looked like. 

We landed in Milan and took the train directly to Venice.  Later, dinner while facing the Grande Canal of Venice, we watched striped clad gondoliers at their work gliding down the canal and listened to locals greet each other in that romantic language.  I fed bread to a tiny sparrow who jumped on our table to welcome us to beautiful bountiful Italy.  Our first dinner was classic spaghetti with meat sauce and a glass of fine Merlot.  Later Gelato while strolling narrow stone walkways along the canal.  There were church bells outside our ancient brick apartment window at bedtime where we snuggled under down comforters.  We have fallen in love with this country and it has taken less than one day.


Day two a stunning lingering breakfast beside the water.  We walked along the canal and entered Saint Mark’s Basilica.   Photos were banned.  I can’t tell you what it looked like.  Words fail me.  Failed us. Even if I could somehow describe it you wouldn’t believe me.  All I could think to do was cry.  And so I did.  Deep Inside it’s magnificence I lit a candle then cried some more.  If God resides inside any church it’s that one. 


We rode a gondola at sunset. Our gondolier sang parts of O’ Sole Mio and Volare.






Dinner was 4 cheese Ravioli then Gelato, strawberry this time.
 One more stroll then it’s off to bed. Tomorrow we go to Assisi.


58 thoughts on “Jane and Marie and our Trip of a Lifetime”

  1. Hello dear Marie and Jane, thank you for all the love that poured in this Italia who has a thousand ailments but you love so much. Through your eyes I too an improved view of the place where I live. The joy that kindled your faces to see the monuments (which are normal for us) was priceless. Thanks for giving me some of your time. I can not wait to read your next steps that however you anticipated me with viewing photos of your beautiful journey.
    A world of kisses.

  2. Welcome back! I can already tell that this trip is going to keep us entertained for many weeks. I too have had my nose pressed against the airplane window as I flew over the Italian Alps and have that image engraved in my mind. Show us more!

  3. By the way, you couldn’t get the gondoliers to sing “Grande Amore” or “Nessum Dorma” ??? I would have asked for my money back. Only kidding – as touristy as it is, I’m sure it was a fabulous experience.

  4. Glad to have you two ladies home. I can imagine your ‘memory’ chest has added some new treasures.
    It was a long time ago but I still remember drinking ‘iced tea’ on St. Marco square and being introduced to Gelato.
    Waiting for your next “Touring Italy’ chapter.

  5. Welcome home ladies! It is going to take some time to come down from the high that you are experiencing! How wonderful to have spent time with Daniela. Isn’t Venice a wonder? It has been too long for me since I was there last. Looking forward to hearing more! 🇮🇹

  6. Welcome home! Wasn’t Venice magical? What a beautiful, beautiful place! Venice is it’s own world and I wish I could have spent more time there. If you are going to Italy please don’t miss this wonderful city!

  7. Welcome back you two. I think everyone on the Crew is Italian at heart even those of us who have a different ethnic background. If you have ever had an opportunity to visit Italy you cannot get it out of your blood, and why would you want to anyway. Looking forward to the rest of your fairytale trip girls.

  8. Welcome back. Love your trip so much and can’t wait to hear more. Now you know how it feels to come back from Italy and plan your next trip! I went 3 years in a row the first time.

  9. Welcome back Marie and Jane. I felt the same way flying over the Alps into Italy, and the first time my husband and I entered the Grand Canal on a boat was truly magical! It was everything I expected it to be and more. While we were in beautiful St Mark’s, we were able to attend mass in a small side chapel. In September we again visited Venice on a trip and I still felt the same. It is very hard to describe but you have done so beautifully. And I never went a day in Italy without gelato!

  10. Oh Marie!
    The way you write – it warms my heart.
    Thank you for sharing. And showing your pics to us.
    I’m relatively new here. got bit more active just as you were the time you and Jane were in Italy. Heartwarming that you’re back.
    Eagerly awaiting more from you . . .yet, take your time. am savouring it little at a time from you. Warm greetings
    (btw, which is you and which is Jane in the pic above? Thank you)

    1. Cynthia, Marie is on left with glasses, so it must be Jane on right with pinkish/redish jacket. They look like they are having the time of their lives.

  11. Welcome home, you two! All I can say is that I’m looking forward to the next episode, you’ve made my Monday a bit better! Thanks, Dot in Texas!♡♡♡

  12. wow Jane and Marie. We are all living vicariously in your trip. I fell in love with Italy when I met our boys. How I would love to see it in person as you did. I have had many Italians in my life especially while living in Boston and Their warmth and happy attitude of life never ceases to amaze me. We should all look at life with such joy. Waiting anxiously for your next chapter.Joanie G

  13. Welcome back! This is like reading a wonderful story! I can’t wait to read the next page! ❤️

  14. Marie, simply beautiful! Bellisima!

    Just like Italy. Simple, beautiful, and perfetto sempre!

    Wonder if your sparrow buddy is the same one we had in Florence? 🙂

  15. Oh my, Marie, those photos are so evocative and stunning. I love the one along the canal. I can’t even imagine turning a corner (either on land or in a boat) and seeing such a view. You have memories to treasure for the rest of your lives!
    Welcome back, we missed you guys!

  16. Welcome back Marie and Jane.Thank you for your story and the ones to come. I too love Italy, and could picture the scene outside the plane window of the Alps, they are truly majestic. I also in my mind visited Venice again thru your description. The Grand Canal and St. Mark’s are beyond belief. You certainly experienced the best !! Looking forward to your next episode and meeting with Il Volo families .

  17. So beautifully written Marie !! I am SO happy for you and Jane !! I savored every word and the photos of this first chapter of your amazing journey and I will savore all the chapters to come !!! Once you experience the splendor of Italy and it’s beautiful, warm people you want more and more !! I know this well and I am excited to be going back in May !! In the meantime I love reading all about your Trip of a Lifetime !!! We want every little detail !!😃

  18. Marie and Jane, your wonderful words of beauty about Italy takes me back a few years when I was there. How I would love to return once more. The breathtaking sceneries of Rome, Florence, Amalfi, Venice etc. St Marks Square is incredible as you said. Too many Pigeons though. Welcome home you two.

  19. Ohhhh you went to the Basilica of San Marco! What an incredible place.When I was in Venice a happy accident made me end up there for Mass and it was sublime. Your words so resonated with me. Italy! How much I yearn to go back there again…and again. I look forward to hearing every word you have to share with us,
    Welcome back Marie and Jane

    PS. I ate anchovies on my pizza thinking about you two in Italy.

  20. Welcome back Marie and Jane
    I’m savoring every word you have written.
    I can’t wait until we hear about the meeting with Daniela, and the meeting with Gianluca’s family.

  21. Prese Pasco, I have been to Venice a few times and loved it every time. I went last year but the vendors in St. Marks Square were very persistent this time. They followed my niece everywhere with the fake purses, jewelry and roses. It was difficult to get away from them. That won’t stop me from going again though. Yes, the pigeons can be annoying too, but that is part of the charm too. You just have to shoo them away. The vendors too. Shoo, Shoo!

    1. There must be some phrase in Italiano that would tell the obnoxious vendors ‘ No thanks” or”Get Lost!” or “leave me alone!” before someone would feel compelled to shove the vendor into the canal!

      1. There are a few of phrases I can think of in Italian, nice and otherwise, but I am a lady so just ignoring them seemed to work for me. I wonder how Marie and Jane handled it.

    2. Howdy, Rose Marie, It sounds like the vendors & pigeons behave like each other on some days! ( Maybe they all are truly hungry, though ?).

      1. Laura, I’m sure they are. The vendors are just trying to make a living. I didn’t see many people buying though. If you can look beyond all the commercial stuff you can truly enjoy the beauty of St. Marks Square. We just sat for a coffee and people watched. It is lovely to sit at a cafe and listen to beautiful music being played in the square. Truly a Notte Magica in Venice.

  22. Welcome home, Marie and Jane!! Now that you have been home for a few days are you ready to book a return trip?? Or would you just rather move there???

    1. Mary, I’m not quite ready to book a return trip as I first have to forget how LONG that plane ride was!! 🙂 It most certainly was a trip of a lifetime!

      1. Welcome back, Jane! I was wondering how you each felt about the long flight, so thanks for sharing how you felt about it. 😄

  23. Oh my goodness! What pictures your words paint. I wish so much I had the means to take that trip!! I have family in Abruzzo that I would love to reconnect with!!! You make that desire so much more strong! I pray the rest of your trip will meet, no exceed, your expectations!!!!

  24. Welcome back to the states. What a lovely trip you have described
    to us. As the saying goes, “Wish you were here (in Italy). I think
    there might be enough of us to fill the plane. Just looking forward
    for the next installment of your lovely trip.

  25. Welcome back, Jane and Marie! 💕 Just want to thank you for your Wonderfully written story with Nice detail and pictures. Even the Gondolier looks happy!! You practically had me crying beside you in the Basilica. Oh boy! Something’s telling me this is gonna be good!!

  26. Welcome back , Marie and Jane. I know you had a wonderful time and I am eager to hear all about the rest of your trip. Your first installment sounded dreamy, and I loved the charming photographs. You are right about one thing – once you have been to Italy you want to return. I have had the pleasure of visiting Italy 3 times. The first as a chaperone when my son was on tour with a youth orchestra. The second when the choir I sing with had a concert tour through Italy. We all agreed there would never be another trip like that one, singing in those beautiful churches throughout Italy . And the third time we were lucky enough to exchange houses for 2 weeks with a family on Lake Como. But the recent visits recounted by Lorna and Jana and now you two made me think about another visit. We are currently looking into a trip with some friends to visit Tuscany in May . Coincidentally we are planning to be near Verona in the middle of May when the guys are performing at the Arena. My dream has been to see them in Italy, and so we have tickets to the concert on May 20. We do not have plane reservations, or hotel plans, but we have our Il Volo tickets! Priorities! Looking forward to your travel tales.

    1. Janet, believe me Tuscany is beautiful in that month, of course cities are always wonderful, but if you want to do a couple of days at sea is a very beautiful time because there is not still very hot and everything is very green, there are also beautiful beaches not yet frequented by crowds of August. As you may have figured out it is the area where I’m going with my family in the summer for 45 years and it never tires.
      I am in the 19 Arena, too bad, we could say goodbye.

      1. Daniela, one thought on our plan is to take the morning train from Florence to Verona on May 19 and arrive early afternoon to get settled and get comfortable before the concert on May 20. If we do plan to arrive on May 19, maybe we could meet you for dinner, or a glass of wine or coffee. I will let you know as our plans get settled.
        By the way do you live close to Bergamo? That has to be one of the loveliest cities! we spent a wonderful day there when we did the Lake Como house trade.

      2. Janet, but certainly we meet, there is already an agreement with some of the crew members who come to Verona on May 19 to visit before or after the concert to greet us and know us. If you are already in Verona we meet definitely. I find it beautiful idea this meeting, it would be nice if Marie and Jane were back. Later we will feel to agree. If you stay in Verona for the night, remember IL VOLO usually sleeps at THE GENTLEMAN, maybe looking for a place in the surrounding area so you can view them.

  27. Welcome home Marie and Jane you write so well you make us all feel as though we were there, It’s going to be fun reading about the rest of your trip and the wonderful people you met in Italy. I”M so glad you two got to go.

  28. Daniela: Your suggestions of meeting in Verona with other crew members sounds lovely. The hotel you mention, The Gentleman, I cannot find a listing for that one. Perhaps the Italian name of the hotel? We definitely plan to spend at least 3 nights and days in Verona and would love to stay near the Arena and the hotel you mentioned. Thank you for any information you can give me.

    1. Janet, the name is, THE GENTLEMAN OF VERONA – GRAND RELAIS, if you go to Google and type in it’ll all even out the position, is close to the Arena. The boys are always went there also because it is convenient. This year there were many girls outside the hotel waiting for them and I know that many of my Italian friends have already made my reservation there.

      1. Thanks Daniela for the information. I checked the website and , of course , the hotel is full for all those days around the boys’ concerts. But we are looking at a convenient 1 bedroom apartment through VRBO also very close to the Arena. Do you think I could blend in with all the girls outside their hotel? I hear they may be in Verona May 18 through May 23 with a third concert being added.
        And Marie if you cannot make it back to Italy for the concert, what about another gathering in Las Vegas in March when they finally let us know the venues and put tickets on sale?

      2. Janet, of course it is, if you can be close to the Arena is easy that you will be able to mix among the girls but also women who will be there for them. I saw that they were kindly lent to autographs and talk with them, it is not great? Also it is certain, the concert of 23 has already been announced.
        It would be really nice if Marie could come back and certainly it would be great for you a future meeting of the entire crew.

  29. OMG! I am so excited that you went to Italy and have expressed the beauty of the country the way no one else has done! I am trying to plan a trip back, but unfortunately not for the concerts. Am anxious to read more about your trip… PLEASE!

    1. Thank you Maddie and everyone!

      I’m glad you like the story of our trip. We have more ready for you and will post them soon. Montepagano from Jane is next!

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