Last week, I had a dream come true: I got to hear Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun and a dozen other books about Italy, speak about her new book, See You in the Piazza. Years ago, before I’d ever been to Italy, she made me fall in love with it, as well as with the idea of living in another country. Her tales of renovating a crumbling villa, while romantic, didn’t inspire me to do the same! Too much work! But the idea of immersing myself in a tiny town somewhere, of learning the culture and language, now, that…

campo dei miracoli

So many monuments in such a small area. While most people go to take dumb pics of them holding up the Leaning Tower (yes, I took one, too), the other landmarks in Pisa are beautiful, too. The Leaning Tower took almost 200 years to complete (starting in 1173 and paused for a few wars). The Duomo uses gray and white striped stonework unique to Tuscany. The Baptistry is a symbolic crown at the forefront of the Campo dei Miracoli. Beyond that, there’s a walled cemetery with some beautiful sculptures. I couldn’t imagine a nicer place to be buried.  

frances mayes

The entire hour, I was glassy-eyed. I was in the presence of one of my author idols, Frances Mayes. She was doing a book reading at Warwick’s in La Jolla for her new book, See You in the Piazza. After painting Italy with her lilting Georgia accent, she moved toward the book-signing table. She stopped and turned toward the crowd. Her eyes met mine.