It’s been almost a month since I returned home from Italy, and I’m just now posting about my travel experiences.  It took time to catch up with my life in Denver, integrate all that I learned and stabilize once again.  It’s past time to seasonally change the hat room, which is always an intense project.  I have been in the unfortunate space of “blogger’s block,”  struggling to find my voice and my ability to write. Hopefully today will be the day that my blogging routine will be back on track.

I’m including two images of the four cities that we visited.  The second photo of each location is not necessarily the “best” image, but rather the most impactful in terms of my emotional response in the moment.

Our Italian adventure began in Venice and the above photo was taken in an ancient part of the city, with winding narrow streets that always ended in a square filled with gatherings of people and children at play.  It was easy to get lost in the labyrinth, enjoying the scenery along the way.

There are no cars, motorcycles or bicycles in this gorgeous city of canals.  It was a respite from the noise of most cities, as everyone traveled by water.  The concept was appealing and magical, and we took full advantage of walking and traveling by boat or water taxi.

The food throughout our trip was beyond my expectations. Food was treated lovingly and served with immense personal pride. Pasta was king and the fish was superb.  And don’t let me get started on the wine!


The beauty of Florence was breathtaking and the historical sites filled me with a sense of wonder.  Considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, its history was apparent around every corner.  Wandering the streets and discovering architecture, art, restaurants and shops was my favorite activity.

One night in Florence we happened upon the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower.  I’ll never forget the splendor that magically appeared: I took a seat to absorb the view. This photo was taken during that moment of awe.


And then there was Rome!  Cobblestones, ruins, the electricity of the people, the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum, the Vatican, the art, the many fountains and sculptures.  My heart beats faster now as I recall memories and feel inadequate to put into words our experiences.

We happened upon a shop owned by a Danish-born fashion designer who has lived in Rome for 25 years.  Her sewing machine sits at the back of her shop and she designs and creates every piece of wearable art that she sells.  In the photo above I’m wearing a fabric cloche by the shop’s proprietress ,Tina Sondergaard HERE  that just happened to harmonize with my outfit of the day. She single-handedly convinced us that visiting Scandinavia should be in our future. It was connections similar to this that happened everywhere we went.

During our first evening in Rome, after a delicious Italian dinner in a small family owned restaurant, we wandered around a corner and discovered the Trevi Fountain. One of the most famous fountains in the world, it captured my heart.  It was the moment that I fell in love with Rome.


Positano, a cliffside village on southern Italy’s Amalfi Coast, offered endless views and steep, narrow streets.  The town is perched on an enclave on the face of a hill and winds down towards the waters of the Mediterranean.

Positano was the perfect place to end our Italian adventure.  Though the town was filled with people from all over the world, it was charming and the ceramic shops were filled with exquisite pieces. A slower pace was appreciated after the intensity of Rome.

I used to think that my home, built in 1907, was old. I now have a different perspective after experiencing structures that were built centuries ago.  Travel is the best form of education. To be a guest in another culture is a gift of immense proportions.

Mr. J is a wonderfully kind and mellow traveling companion. Together we navigated the challenges and transitions of travel with grace and humor, along with open minds and hearts. Our time in Italy has motivated me to continue to focus on health so that we can create more travel adventures during this time of life, which makes me feel more alive, engaged and energized.  For this I am grateful.


  1. Hi Judith, I have been waiting for pictures and details of your wonderful trip. You did not disappoint!! The one in Florence of the Basilica and other buildings looks like a postcard, not a candid photo. I love that one, and can understand the awe you must have felt to actually be there! I will show the pictures, and read the comments to your mom. Enlarging parts of the photos on my iPad seems to work for her. Fall is in all its glory here and is especially stunning since our grass is still very green.

    Love, Janet

  2. Lovely post thanks Judith, inspired me on a couple of levels, eg the hatmaker with her little shop but with special things in it

  3. This really makes me want to return to Italy. You have captured the spirit of romance it holds.

    Looks like you had such a wonderful trip! Creating special moments create lasting memories.


    MY ITALIAN HUSBAND use to laugh at me when I thought something was old and beautiful here……..MY AGE NOW!He would tell me the ITALIANS would call that JUNK!Until one see’s it for thy self YOU really do not understand what it means to be an ancient city!
    Venice and its canals and crumbling facades…….
    FLORENCE my old home town for 3 years…………GOD HOW I MISS IT!And the FRIENDS I MADE THERE.
    I belong MORE THERE THAN HERE……………….
    THANK YOU for sharing………….XX

  5. Wonderful. So glad you had a wonderful time in Italy. I found Venice so magical (it’s a cliche but even so) and can’t wait til I return and explore more. And of course you embody the chic traveler. Something I aspire to. Thank you Judith.

  6. No wonder it took a while to write about your travels — so much to absorb in those four very different cities. We’ve been visiting Italy a fair bit since my daughter moved to Rome a few years ago, and there’s so much compressed into that country! I’ve only spent a few days in Florence, the same in Venice, and never been to Positano — but every time we visit a new city (Naples, Turin, Bari), I think we need to go back for longer. Yet there’s only so much time and we also need/want to integrate what we learn there with how we live back home. Loved this post — the memories you share and the insights — and the style!

  7. I would love to visit Italy again – it has been too many years since I have been there.
    I enjoyed seeing your images.

  8. Oh such wonderful compliments of my late sadly missed parent’s country! Thank you Judith. My parents were from Pisa and Lucca and I was fortunate to see their place of birth. I visited Rome years ago and it will forever be in my mind, my heart and my soul. I am so proud of my ancestry and in a perfect world I would love to go back to Italy as often as I could. I am glad – more than glad – that you enjoyed your fantastic holiday. It is not surprising that you are unsettled after such a lovely holiday. This is proof indeed that Italy, the people, the food, but especially the architecture has left you with many memories that will stay with you forever. My thanks again for your graceful appreciation of my country

  9. You look just wonderful as usual and it’s great to hear about your travels. I trust you’ve found your writing ‘voice’ again – because I so love your blog. Never fear we all love your writing and your insights into hat gear – such eloquence and elegance. And long may you continue to write!

  10. What wonderful photos. I absolutely loved my 2 visits to Italy and would love to go back soon. There is such beauty, history and fantastic food and wine – what more could a person want!

  11. Dear Judith, although I do not currently blog, I follow and always be happy and inspired by you. I was in Tuscany this summer and it is so lovely. You are completely right. Interested that you found the Danish designer Tina Søndergaard.
    You must promise me if your travel goes to Scandinavia and you want to visit Copenhagen please contact me, I will be very very happy.
    Orange is so beautiful and I think it’s really what you write about orange. Anne-Marie

  12. Just catching on emails and saw this beautiful post. I’m sorry to hear of the struggles with writing/blogging – may you find the right rhythm there! One that’s fits your life and keeps you feeling creative and expressive. Because your posts are always such a lift, such a gift. This looks like such an amazing adventure, and I agree that seeing these other ‘worlds’ is a tremendous benefit to us all. I’ve learned so much, seeing things thru your open and curious and tender heart and mind. Thank you so much for your generous perspective! And that cloche?? aaaah!!! Here’s to many more trips with you and Mr J, in places as inspiring and meaningful. Might I add, your presence adds another special layer of beauty to wherever you go! Xoxoxo

  13. It looks like Italy really found a place in your heart and soul. I’m happy you had such a wonderful time and were able to meet some talented milliners and designers who appreciated your elegant style. I’m sure you made as much of an impression on Italy as it did on you.

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