Italy: A Home Away from Home

I’ve been to Italy plenty of times—it’s one of my favorite places to travel. But even I was impressed when I read this month’s Traveler Story, featuring Tommy Chapple, who’s traveled with Grand Circle 17 times—most of them repeating our Italy itineraries, one or more times. But like our favorite countries to travel to, each time is different. The food you eat, the people you meet, the roads you walk in different seasons, and the regions—like Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast. Both are so beautiful and so uniquely distinct destinations, it’s no wonder that travelers like Tommy want to return.

Reading her story, I was impressed by her reverence for the country and her feeling of a true connection to her lineage. Boston, where I live, is a small city but one with a remarkably strong Italian community. Although I am not of Italian heritage, I can’t help but feel a connection to this community when I stroll the North End neighborhood, where many Italian families still live, own restaurants, and celebrate religious festivals en masse. It’s hard not to be transported back to my journeys in Italy to cozy villages where everyone is a neighbor, to osterias and trattorias filled with people having a good time. This incredible warmth (particularly in the comfort food of Tuscany) and zest for life is juxtaposed in its stone ruins of places like Pompeii and Herculaneum, reminders of millennia gone by. But like the regions’ cultural traditions, these ancient monuments, archaeological gems, and famous sites offer such a connection to the past that I always find remarkable, coming from a country that is just 400 years old.

What places inspire you to return? Is there a destination you’d consider a second home? I’d love to hear from you—email me at