When I began planning my trip, I knew already the visit, largely focused on the northern city of Turin, would be epic.
Not because I knew the city (I didn't). Rather I had faith in nostalgia travel -- a microtourism approach where you revisit a signature place and reconnect with memories. As you explore, you're charting changes in the landscape as if you were writing your autobiography. After studying Italian in college, I lived in Florence after graduation. Since then, I've tried to recreate those golden years Nostalgia tourism dispenses with traditional traveling itineraries. It's all about the little things, like stopping to listen as the church bells chime and breathing in jasmine flowers, which is Italy's scent for me.
It's about taking the pulse of a place, a personal kind of traveling that's tied less to friends and more to private moments. In Florence, for example, I revisit my old flat. Two years ago, I noticed new screen windows. This trip, I found my old bus route had shifted.
I've experimented with this kind of throwback travel before. During a quickie trip to Italy two years ago, I dashed through Rome and Florence. But the trip's success was immediately clear through a couple of tiny moments of pure nostalgia for Italy.
My first night in town, a Roman taxi driver pumping his fist over a Juventus soccer game on the radio caught my eye in the rearview mirror. He clearly wanted to share his joy. Smiling, I blurted out two words I'd never said before: "Forza Juve!" Go Juventus.
Then, a man with a motorcycle helmet entered a café by the Campidoglio. He jutted out his chin and exchanged a look with the barista that silently conveyed, "Can you believe that?" (Where both parties seemed to know exactly what "that" referred to.) For his part, the barman shot the customer one quick glance that telegraphed, "Oh, finally you're here!" The wordless conversation was part theater, part afternoon chronicle. Nothing happened,