Are you planning a trip to Italy? If so, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Tuscia as well. Be inspired by Paula and Sandy’s travel experience, two women from Omaha (Nebraska) who fell in love with Tuscia.
We caught up with them to talk about their adventures in Italy.
Paula, what is the first thought that comes to your mind if we say Italy?
When I think of my travels in Italy, it is almost overwhelming to consider a list of favorite things. There are so many experiences with food, culture, history, and art that it is impossible to begin. However, the constant with every trip over the years is relationship.
Sandy, why did you decide to visit Italy?
This was my second trip to Italy. The goal was a more personal immersion into the natural beauty, cuisine, culture, and history of Italy. Through the strength of my friend Paula’s friendships, I was very fortunate to experience Italy in a heartfelt way.
What are a few highlights of things that you both explored or experienced together in Italy prior to arriving in Tuscia?
In Cortona, we enjoyed gnocchi with truffles, the daily tolling of church bells, and beautiful shops. Cinque Terre, a sky-high hike up stone steps through vineyards over the Ligurian sea. Torino, the pleasures of bicherin chocolate and coffee in that royal city, and the National Car Museum.
Our remarkable Italian friend, Giulia, who was first introduced to Paula in Omaha, was key in making it a “must see” on this trip. Through her eyes and her friendship we were welcomed into the beauty, culture, and liveliness of a place that we fell in love with. We stayed at the Balletti hotels, in San Martino al Cimino and Viterbo. Both are close to everything the heart desired. Like the countless miles of wandering through food, art, history, music, and the embrace of new friendships.
What are some of the highlights of your time in Tuscia?
A cooking class with Vittoria Tassoni outside Tarquinia was a day of unforgettable discovery and utter joy. The gathering of eggs and herbs with Vittoria before we settled into her kitchen for cooking. Then, after a pranzo of our fresh pasta and acquacotta, we drove to the sea for coffee and more stories. A perfect day!
Viterbo and Tuscia gave us many perfect days, including an evening at the ancient Chiesa di San Silvestro in Viterbo. We were thrilled by world-class piano virtuosos playing Liszt. Then we took an excursion to Lago Vico, the Monster Park of Bomarzo and Palazzo Farnese, in Caprarola.
Paula, tell us about your personal perceptions.
Each experience, for me, comes down to relationship — the way people connect through food, through laughter and language, through the gracious nature of hospitality. Italy holds an extravagance of beauty, history – and, perhaps more so, inspiration for my work as an artist and illustrator. Italy, after all, has inspired writers and composers and all manner of artist. It has been a route over the centuries for the faithful on pilgrimages seeking inspiration and redemption. Along the pilgrims’ path there are still many places of hospitality and respite.
In the modern age we are all pilgrims of some sort, traveling in search of inspiration or transcendence or renewal. We can find those places of hospitality and inspiration in the embrace of Italy.
And what about your personal perceptions, Sandy?
Allowing oneself to follow instincts, to trust, and to be open to surprises and small miracles is always a secret to traveling well. In Tuscia, it was never easier.
I am grateful for the expansion of my world that the people and beauty of Tuscia brought about. It is a joyful feeling to be linked in spirit.
So many friends in America are curious to learn more about medieval Viterbo and the region of Tuscia. It is a pleasure to share our experiences in the hope that they’ll make a visit of discovery for themselves.
Any future plans to return?
A heartfelt wish!