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For my husband and I paradise is Vicenza, Italy. We had the opportunity to live is this delightful city for three years in the late '80s. We lived in the top section of a 400 year old villa. Our landlord and landlady lived right next door. They would bring us fresh vegetables and eggs everyday. Our son, who went to an Italian preschool/kindergarten, would go and help their family pick grapes to make wine. My husband would bike the four miles to the Army base where he worked at the hospital. I would take the train to Venice, Padua, Verona, or just walk through a local open air market. On the weekends we would drive through the "wine roads" of the Vent stopping and sampling local wines and looking at churches and fortresses. Leaving Vicenza was one of the hardest things we have ever done.

This past summer we took a family trip back to Italy. We visited Vicenza, and our landlady and her family, with our now 16 year old son and 9 year old son. We were fully prepared to have our memories tarnished. The square wouldn't be as charming as we remembered. Our friends wouldn't be welcoming. But, none of this happened. While the city has changed some (it's now Italy's Silicon Valley) the essence remains the same. I was able to find all my favorite stores. The little cheese shop that carried our favorite cheeses. The pizzeria we used to frequent was still there, making wonderful calzone. Our paradise is found.



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