This is us on our wedding day in Rome, Italy. Why did we choose to get married there?
Because we discovered we had an "Inner Italian"!
Want to know more about us? Read on!
We'll begin with me : Cath, the younger (!) and primary author of this site. My main aim in life has always been to combine enjoying myself with travel - I first went abroad alone aged fourteen and haven't looked back since.
I took a degree in modern languages which allowed me to spend a large part of my university career abroad, and to develop my love for different countries and cultures.
What to do with those languages in my working life was always a problem. Having fallen asleep at a job interview for international banking and developed a dislike of working in small boxes as an interpreter for the United Nations in Geneva, I returned to the UK and used an unrelated job to fund regular trips abroad.
I've lived in France and Spain as well as various places in the UK, and been lucky enough to travel extensively in Europe, the Americas and Africa, my last major trip having been a lone cycle ride across Senegal.
|Left to right - Harry and William.
Sadly, I didn't have children but do have lots of kids in my life. The most important are my three young nephews - Harry, Ben and William - lots of 'godchildren' and for the last several years, my three grown up step-daughters.
I try to share with all those young people the same passion for travel and other cultures that I've been lucky enough to have experienced for myself - and that's what I hope to give you within this website.
Mike was born in the same hospital as me in Liverpool (U.K.) and we were brought up just down the road from each other when we were both very young - although we didn't know it at the time.
The older of us by a whole six weeks, Mike was more traditional than me and having sown a few wild oats studying Social Psychology at Bangor University, worked in the same organisation as his father where, many years later, we would meet.
|Left to right :
Katherine, Faith and Hannah.
Having children was an important part of Mike's life plan and his three daughters Katherine, Hannah and Faith have always been his main love and priority.
He's done a great job - they're all successful young women with their own careers and developing relationships, and are a hugely important part of both our lives.
Mike's travel experience was largely within the UK and northern Europe, and to Goodison Park where he has been a life long supporter of Everton Football Club. Ask Mike to describe himself these days and the four words he will use are "husband, father, Evertonian, Italophile".
When Mike and I got together several years ago, we went on a surprise trip to Rome as his first birthday present from me. That was it : the beginning of an instant and long term love of Italy and Italian culture for both of us.
So much so that, when we decided to get married, we chose Rome as the perfect place and Le Marche as the ideal honeymoon location. A year later, we bought an old Italian farmhouse in the same valley where we had honeymooned. And when we elected to take early retirement several years ago we moved to live in Italy full time. Here's the view from our home across to our little village.
|Our village in Le Marche at sunrise.|
Since then we have become official residents of our tiny Italian community, carry Italian residency cards, learned to speak Italian, cook Italian, read Italian newspapers, have friends who are Italian (many of whom speak no English).
And we're lucky enough to be able to spend a lot of time seeing different places in Italy.
What can we say - we love it all!
This is Nero, doing what he does best - resting.
Nero is a rescued ex-racing greyhound and, like all greys, is a quiet, loyal, affectionate dog who has two main dislikes in life - rain and exercise.
He's an English bred dog but is now well travelled. He has his own passport issued under the European Union's pet passport scheme and travels with us wherever we go. He loves hotels, considers it his personal mission to sniff round all the best dog beaches Italy has to offer and generally gives us the pet perspective which we can then pass on to you.
We firmly believe that our love of Italy and everything Italian, our experience of places to visit in Italy and how to get the best out of them, and our knowledge of every aspect of living in Italy gives us the expertise necessary to be able to become your own personal Italian travel guide, and to help you with whatever it is you want to know.
And if there's anything you'd like to know that we don't cover, use this link to get in touch - we will always try to help.
So we hope you enjoy the site and we hope you enjoy Italy. It's a buzzy, vibrant, exciting, romantic country and culture with some of the friendliest people in the world - and it's all here waiting for you. So let's get started.
Read about it. Learn about it. Enjoy it. And if you get the chance, visit it. Remember the words of Mark Twain :