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Jo Cicale

Saugerties, NY

The wedding invitation arrived and my daughter asked, "Are you up for this?" "Of course I am" I said even though my husband refers to Italy as the country of a thousand steps.

We would attend cugine (cousin) Eliana's marriage to Andrea and extend the trip to include a visit to places we'd missed on previous trips or to those we'd not visited before.

I kept up with my husband Alex, daughter Alexis and even our energetic four-year-old grandson Chris. We started in Milan where my daughter insisted we visit the Duomo that was just a ten minute walk from our hotel. An hour later we then climbed the long staircase to the magnificent cathedral. So far, so good despite an hour-long walk back to the hotel.

We then boarded a train to Venice. The trains are about three-feet above each platform with no steps provided, but I managed! Murano was more walking many miles each day. But, the real challenge for my new 8 month-old knee came when we reached Cinque Terre - five towns linked by trails not for the faint-hearted. We took trains to each of the three towns we visited but then climbed hundreds of steps to appreciate the magnificent vistas of the Ligurian Sea. Yes, I did climb all those steps, managed the trains, and each day's walking sojourns of our three-week Italian vacation.!

Here's a picture of me at the apartment we stayed in Cinque Terre - of course there are many steps. Then in Rome we stayed in a third-floor apartment with the luxury of an elevator which we mostly choose to not use.

Eliana's wedding was magical. It was held at the Chiesa Di Castello - the castle Church of the Madonna which sits atop the village of San Eusanio Forconese, about two hours outside of Rome in the Abruzzi region of Italy. My husband's family has lived here generations. Fortunately, shuttles took us to the Church. The bride was married by her Uncle Mike, a priest from Sicily and her late Mom's brother.

I am thankful to Dr. Sculco and HSS which took me from an inability to enjoy even the most mundane daily activities to climbing steps and walking miles during a trip that has given me the sweetest of memories.