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The Forum.

My husband and I got married on October 18 in Louisville, Kentucky at St. Boniface Catholic Church, followed by dinner and dancing at 21C Museum Hotel. It was everything I could have hoped for. I just wanted to carry my gorgeous Technicolor autumn bouquet and eat endless canapes with bison tartare, quail eggs, and truffle oil, surrounded by art, with my husband, forever and ever.

But this series of posts is about my honeymoon in Italy, which turned out to be a natural extension of what we loved about our wedding. We enjoyed fall foliage in Piemonte and unfamiliar flowers and trees in Rome. At wine bars in Florence and Venice, we helped ourselves to aperitivi and cicchetti, buffets of complimentary appetizers. We ate steak tartare and eggy pastas all over Northern Italy. We visited Alba at the height of its short white truffle season. We saw so much art. And we took part in the Catholic ceremony of all Catholic ceremonies.

Almost a year has passed since the trip, but all of the details I abbreviated to a word or a couple of words in my daily log of the trip — written around 6:00 in the morning each day because I was sick for the duration and never recovered from jet lag — I still remember in full. So without further ado, the story of how I fell in love with Italy.

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kissing bunnies
It’s love! Photo credit

In the late 1980s, the valentines exchanged in elementary school were small pieces of glossy paper with images of cartoon characters and messages with cute, if contrived, puns. Some kids taped lollipops or Hershey’s kisses to them. It was hard to get that creative (back then, only Disney was making animated features), but one year my mom found valentines marked with dotted lines to be folded into paper airplanes. My classmates loved them. My teacher was probably horrified. My mom seemed to understand how much it meant to me when she picked out unique valentines. When candy valentines suddenly got big, she came home with M&Ms’ version for me to give away–a Valentine’s Day gesture in and of itself.

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