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Several people have asked me since my return from our trip, which country I liked best – France or Italy…..well how do I answer that??!!  I absolutely love them both. I  have always said I am a Francophile at heart, but I fell in love with Italy in June and my love affair continues. The more I think about our time driving through Italy I realise how much I did love it – the trip simply whetted my appetite for more and I know I have to find a way to return – hopefully in just three years!

Why did I love Italy so much? –  because of the climate, the history, the language, the people, the food, the architecture, the art and the lifestyle in general. Not only that, some places we visited seemed more rustic than the parts of France I have been to, and I liked that.

Just as I feel very comfortable in France, I felt the same in Italy. I didn’t feel foolish attempting the language and I think the Italians appreciated the fact that we had a go at it! Italians have a zest for life and a love of family which really appeals to me –  I can see myself fully embracing their lifestyle and language if I could immerse myself for a longer period of time. In the meantime, I have to be content with reading as much as I can – books, websites blogs – and I find myself constantly flicking back through my trip photos. Here are some favourites from Venice.

As far as finding helpful and enticing information on my favourite Italian city, Venice, Facebook can be a a goldmine, which by serendipty, can lead you to other wonderful resources. Here are a couple that I like – they keep me immersed in Venetian life and culture:

Dream of Venice – this site is really excellent and has wonderful photographs. It recently featured Weekending in Venice – an article by Mark Palmer in the Daily Mail which has great advice and information. I must make sure I vist Burano and Torcello when I return. The site also picked up this interesting article about Island Hopping in Italy (well actually Venice) by Cathryn Drake. Dream of Venice also led me to Marco Secchi’s blog and in particular his posts 20 things to do in Venice. Marco is an Italian professional photographer so the photos are brilliant and the information too. I particulary like the current posting, #14 Getting Lost in Venice – basically he suggests exactly what we did – wandering around without a map, taking in the sights, and exploring the maze of little calli– you can always find a way out! Take a look too at their latest link to Philippa Gregory’s Venice, an article in The Telegraph by York Membery.

Livng Venice is another great Facebook page, if you can’t get enough of Venice like me. In May, they posted this video – Venice Backstage, How Venice Works  – see for yourself, amazing. It also features Marco Secchi and his photography. Just these two Facebook sites alone will keep you amused for hours!

As for France, it was my second visit in five years and nothing has changed – I adore it. I am sure I must have been French in an earlier life. There seems to be something in the air that simply suits me and makes me want to live there- anywhere would do, but the South of France would be my ideal. Having been there twice now, I know it is meant for me…. oh there, I have said it… yes I think France wins, but Italy comes such a close second, in fact  it is so very nearly a dead heat. France has that soupcon more “je ne sais quoi? – yep, I can’t really even put my finger on it, but it is a winner every time.