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Italy Withdrawal

I know this isn't necessarily a travel question but has anyone experienced withdrawal after returning home? I was lucky enough to spend three weeks in Italy at the end of September and early October and adored every minute. I am having trouble adjusting to life here in the States - maybe I should move? Any suggestions...?

Posted by
689 posts

Nice thread Donna.

I find that while I want to eat Italian food - to keep the memories alive, that I do better if I stay completely away from it! You know - it just isn't the same here.

Plan the next trip - and spend time here helping others get there!

Posted by
422 posts

Hi Donna, yes vacation withdrawals from wonderful vacations are very common for me. After I returned from my first trip on May 15, I booked my second trip to weeks later for a 10 night trip in December. That second trip was even sweeter because I returned to some of the same cities, picked up where I left off and was greated by the same hotel personnel like I was family. It's a good problem to have.

I recommend, start researching for your return trip (even if you don't know when you might be able to return). It surely helped me. :-)

Posted by
15 posts

Sally, guess I don't know what you mean by "nice thread" - please fill me in. Of course I am joking about the wine and the moving abroad but sure seems tempting at this point. Just wish our economy would allow me to travel but alas, doesn't like it in the near future. I will have to re-visit via this web site and enjoy other travels vicariously.

Posted by
389 posts

I know exactly what you're going thru. I'm feeling the same way. We returned home all the back in May and I still long to go back in time to those days. The only thing that seems to help is making plans for a return trip...and plan it right away even if the trip is still a ways off. That, it appears, is giving me some hope of returning. Now all I have to do is pray that the country's economy and just plan luck gets good. P.S. If I didn't have family here, I'd move there in a heartbeat!

Posted by
4822 posts

I find sitting with a nice bottle of Italian wine at least dulls the sensation.

Posted by
15 posts

I have been slowly sipping limoncello in the evenings, but I doubt that will help much!

Posted by
207 posts

I work on my scrapbook of the trip and start planning the next trip. Actually I already have a vacation to Italy scheduled over the Holidays and one in 2009.

Posted by
7735 posts

"Thread" refers to the conversation that you started with this topic. And I went through the same thing after our three week trip to Italy in May. I dreamt about Italy every night for two weeks, waking up trying to figure out which Italian city/town I was in. Slowly those stopped. Sigh.

I, too, have started planning for the next trip, tentatively in 2010. I have an email folder called Italy 2010 that I send things to when I find a piece of information that looks interesting.

Posted by
518 posts

Trying to make pizza exactly like you had in Rome (or croissant in Paris - miserable failure). Music. I have a cheesy italian music cd that would probably make any true Italian cringe - but I love it. I want to know if the reverse happens. Do europeans come here and then go home making chicago dogs and listening to Springsteen??

Posted by
35 posts

Something I find helpful and Rick talked about it a couple of weeks ago on his blog and that is to journal. It is the only time I do write in a journal but I do when I travel. Then when I am home I can read about my trip and remember small details I might not remember and I am back. Also I think it is why we all come to this site each day, to live and dream with each other.

Posted by
1449 posts

I started drinking espresso and cappuccino :-)

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you, all of you. I feel better knowing that this happens often. I have been told that Italy has a "fatal charm" and definitely have found this to be the case. There is no amount of cappucino, or gelato or olive oil or wine consumed on American soil that can replace the actual Italian experience. Aren't we lucky to have had the REAL thing!!

Posted by
466 posts

Fortunately I have a sister that lives in Rome and I can go anytime I want but these are the problems that I encounter.......No more vacation days and expensive flights. Even though I have a sister there, there are still stumbling blocks to getting there. I love it there too!!!!!

Posted by
586 posts

Yes, yes, yes! My wife and I have been there twice this year and can't wait to return, hopefully in the spring!

In the meantime--and Kent really does have it right, I think...planning another trip is the best cure--here are some things I've done to help with the withdrawal symptoms:

  1. Practice the ability to pull up an amazing mental image from your last trip, whenever you most need it
  2. Drink a cappuccino each day (but never after 11:30 AM!)
  3. Buy and begin to ride a scooter ($500.00 used, and a lot of fun!)
  4. Read Barzini's "The Italians" and any book by Beppe Severgnini (if it's Beppe, it has to be good!)
  5. Eat antipasti at home
  6. Pronounce bruschetta "bru-sKeta" in restaurants, wait to be corrected by eager waiters, and then shame them. It's not SHianti, after all!
  7. Study and practice the Italian language
  8. Make a beautiful book of your trip photos through Shutterfly or a similar site
  9. Visit "To the Boot" often
  10. Develop/plan future 'dream' itineraries for Italian trips to come

These have worked for me!(:

Posted by
1999 posts
  1. Have a lovely picture of the Cortona hillside on your cubicle wall.
Posted by
1999 posts

Oh, and don't forget to say "ciao" instead of goodbye.

Posted by
4822 posts

Donna;
Don't just joke about the wine, I laughed when you mentioned the Limoncella because I almost suggested that instead. It is a really powerful comfort to sit on my deck in the evening with a small glass of limoncella or a good italian wine, supplemented as someone said with some olives, cheese, and good bread and just recall my times in Italy. My wife however has mixed success; she will stop flipping channels on any showing of "Under the Tuscan Sun". That dredges up great memories, but depresses her for days.

Posted by
14 posts

It is so nice to know that I am not the only with one with Italy withdrawal!!! I am taking an Italian cooking class through our vo-tech. I can't wait to try out the recipes on my family. The Boboli thin crust pizza is the closest thing I have found to REAL Italian pizza. We look at our pictures and eat boboli pizza and sigh...

Posted by
515 posts

Anyone ever been to Barga, Italy? Google it. I have a friend from college who is doing something remarkable to deal with her withdrawals. She and her husband are in the planning stages of opening an agriturismo near Barga. When I last spoke to her a couple of months ago, they had decided on a property there; it's very old and needs many things, like indoor bathrooms, for example. :-) They have visited Italy several times a year for many years and have made the decision to go for it, so they plan to sell their home and move there. I smile when I think of her animated joy when she talks about this ancient property and all its unique qualities, the vineyards and orchards they hope to restore, and so much more about this move to Italy. Needless to say, this will take a few years to accomplish, but I must say I can hardly wait for her dream to be fulfilled!

Posted by
586 posts

Thought of another one--perhaps the most obvious one, for me: develop an Italian alter ego! I'm John from Chicago, but Gio in Italy (even to my wife) AND Gio in Italian cyberspace. Not sure what a psychologist would do with this, but it feels good, just the same. (:

Posted by
30971 posts

Donna,

YES, I think all of us have those feelings in varying degrees when we return from a trip to Italy, or anywhere in Europe for that matter. Some term the experience "re-entry" rather than "withdrawal". Having to get back to the daily grind of work, paying bills and the often mundane details of normal life is nowhere near as exciting as travelling around exotic locations in Europe!

Like Kent and others, I find that starting to plan the next trip is an effective remedy. I was in South Italy (RS Tour), Verona, Germany and Austria in April & May, and I started thinking about the next trip on the flight home! I now have a tentative Itinerary "roughed out" so just have to decide when I'll be able to afford to go (and also when I can get the time off work - I usually travel for at least a month so that's also a factor to consider!).

There are a few other things that seem to help. First and foremost, organizing my photos and posting these on my website for family and friends to enjoy. I find this is preferable to having them endure one of my usually lengthy slideshows! I also like to review the photos every so often.

Also, I always diarize my trips, so getting that organized into a Word document is also quite helpful. I've found on many occasions that's the only way to remember minute details, especially about the people I meet. It's fun to read through my journal a couple of months after the trip is over.

In the case of Italy, I have access to an Italian TV channel so watching that helps, although I find it makes me wish I was back there! Hearing the language helps my Italian studies, and I enjoy some of the programs such as C'e` Posta per Te (although I can't understand all the dialogue). Unfortunately, I don't have access to channels from other countries, with the exception of UK programming (I'm a big Heartbeat and Touch of Frost fan!) and of course BBC News.

Cheers!

Posted by
15 posts

How I laughed when I read Gio's reply about the Cappucino after 11:30 a.m. -- we were chastized by our tour guide for ordering this in the afternoon. We had never heard about that before.

Is there a name for us? I have heard of Anglophiles but am not aware of an Italian derivative -

Posted by
440 posts

Donna, I cheerfully admit to being a total tragic when leaving Sicily. And it lasts for months, possibly a year. The second visit was actually worse than the first. I have pencilled in an utter breakdown for next year!! Mainland Italy I can manage. I am still waiting for the lucky lottery ticket so that I can live half and half.

Posted by
2 posts

Boy do I ever know what you are talking about! I was biking through Tuscany the same time of year as you were in Italy, also for three weeks. I need to find a support group or something. I want back there so bad! Looking at pictures only makes it worse. I guess I'll take everyone's advice and plan my next trip, drink only Brunello, and have brusKeta with every meal!

Posted by
319 posts

You all crack me up!
Yes American's living in Italy miss American things. However when I am in the USA for more than a couple weeks I really start to miss my Italian home.
Like other's said, cook some italian food, have a drink, and look at your travel pictures. You could also try driving 90 mph on the highway and pretend that you are on the autostrada.

Posted by
1313 posts

Donna, the word you are after is Italiaphile, and I am most certainly a card-carrying member of that club! I started planning my return trip (in less than a month, whee!) before I had left Italy the first time.

Posted by
220 posts

Alas, Donna, your condition is incurable. You must return to Italy ASAP.

Posted by
3537 posts

best cure is to plan another trip. even if it is next yr it gives you something to look forward too.
Now that the dollar to euro looks better again , I may return sooner than I thought.

Posted by
4555 posts

I always take several of my favourite and most evocative photos and put them together in a short slideshow that runs on my computer as "wallpaper." Whe I get that feeling, I just sit in front of my computer and let the photos cycle by.

Posted by
12 posts

I can relate. My wife and I just returned Wednesday night from 12 days in Italy. We were with a group then branched off on our own using the Euro Rail and traveled to Florence and Venice. We both are struggling right now with the USA and the whole politics/economy right now. I know we both will be back to visit Italy.

Posted by
1783 posts

Yes, my wife and I had ALL these feelings... and so we did JUST MOVE!

Now that we've been here, it seems hard to think about returning to the States. We miss our families (Thank God for Skype!), but we're not ready to return to the pace of a US lifestyle. We all talk about going home, but I don't see anyone packing up...

Living here is FAR different than vacationing... This can be a very frustrating country. For example, we are still trying to get the final documentation necessary just to buy a car - after 16 months!

Posted by
1783 posts

Yes, my wife and I had ALL these feelings... and so we did JUST MOVE!

Now that we've been here, it seems hard to think about returning to the States. We miss our families (Thank God for Skype!), but we're not ready to return to the pace of a US lifestyle. We all talk about going home, but I don't see anyone packing up...

Living here is FAR different than vacationing... This can be a very frustrating country. For example, we are still trying to get the final documentation necessary just to buy a car - after 16 months! Getting anything "official" done is a challenge, and not just for NON-Eu folks. The Italians have lively discussions about the "bureacracy" here also.

That said.. we'd still rather be here... sipping wine and planning our next weekend trip! Last weekend was the Chocolate Festival in Perugia... next week - Provence!!!

Ciao,
Ron

Posted by
15 posts

What an incredible opportunity!! Have you found the Italians to be welcoming?! Hopefully you will iron out all the beaurocratic issues soon and can whip your way down the Autostrada wherever your weekend adventures take you. Our group spent a wonderful few days in the village of Todi, in Umbria, very history and quaint. Perfect for a weekend trip.

Posted by
1783 posts

Yes Donna ... we have found Italians welcoming. Once you get to know them they become very loyal friends. Rome is a little more difficult because it's such a large city!

We do rent cars occasionally, especially if a group of us are headed to the same event. But our primary mode of transportation out of Rome is by train - that's how we went to Perugia last week (we had a group of 6)! In town, we travel by motorino, and on public transportation!

When we head to Tuscany we ALWAYS rent a car... to Florence, we ALWAYS ride the train!

Ciao,
Ron

Posted by
192 posts

Most of us get the "Italian withdrawal syndrome", and it can be hard to deal with. I lived in Italy for several years and now go back for the month of September each year. I am an artist and paint mostly Italian cityscapes. While I am painting I am almost transported back to the scene I am painting. Right now I am in Pienza.

Posted by
56 posts

This is just the kind of thread I've been looking for! =) I've been home a mere 3 days and am experiencing serious vacation "hangover". I'm physically here but mentally still in Italy. I need to go back!

I went food shopping today and stocked up on all the things I ate most in Italy..fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, antipasti items, bread, wine, etc.. Now if I could find some real authentic gelato I'd be in business!

Donna, I've already toyed with the idea of trying to move there...I just don't think that's a reality. But many more trips are definitely something I can manage.

Posted by
466 posts

We have a great Italian supermarket here in Miami called Lorenzo's. It's a big supermarket filled with all things Italian, sweets, sauces, meats, cheeses, wines, olives and most anything Italian that you can think of. When I'm missing Italy, I go there to shop for antipasti and wine, then invite some friends over for a taste of Italy!!!! I've seen more Italian products in that store than I have in Italy!!!

Posted by
15 posts

You have all been wonderful!! If only we could wish our way back to Italia - all Italiaphiles could live in the magic. You have helped me deal with the withdrawal just in knowing that I am not alone. As I stated before, we have been blessed with the time we have spent in this beautifulm romance-filled land and I know we all plan on returning. Grazie Bella Italia!!

Posted by
2876 posts

My husband just gave me a wonderful cookbook titled "Culinaria Italy--Pasta, Pesto, Passion" by Claudia Piras--the recipes and photographs will bring back wonderful memories of your trip to Italy and give you ideas for your next trip. You can find it on Amazon.com--there are also books for Spain, France, Greece and other countries as well.

Posted by
582 posts

I love reading this thread! It feels a bit funny for me to now think about Italy withdrawal when I haven't left for my trip yet, but I am leaving a week from Thursday! But I do know I'll feel some withdrawal, because I always do when I return from Europe!
Well Donna, at least you live in a town called Prague!!

Posted by
21 posts

Oh ME TOO!!!

I missed it so much when I got home.

I bought a cd at the airport and played it for a whole month after I got back. I also brought back wine.

But nothing helped. So, as has been said, I'm planning another trip. It's easy to see why people go to europe and get hooked. They just know how to live. All we do is work.

Posted by
389 posts

I loved your post Lisa....so true! And Louise, don't ever give up your dream of going back. Life has a way of going full circle...and you WILL go back if you really want to. I went to Europe on vacation for 3 years in a row as a girl just out of school before I met my husband. Of course, that was when Europe was actually cheap...in the early 70's. When I met my husband I told him, someday I'm going to take you to Europe. Of course, he wasn't the least bit interested. But 25 years later, for our anniversary, I had caught one of Rick Steves's TV shows on how to travel to Europe on a budget. That was it...we were going. He fell in love with it too and 8 yrs later, we returned again when my son and

his wife stated they want to go to Italy and how would we like to join them and plan the trip as we had done before. We just returned and can't wait (as long as it may take this time) to return again. Louise and anyone else out there, keep dreaming...dreams happen!

Posted by
100 posts

ok - IT'S NOT JUST ME !!!! After almost 3 1/2 weeks, I've had enough nerve to come back to the cozy and familiar site that I had obsessed over through 10 months of planning. I had meant to post a "thank you" to all who gave advice and so many helps - which I still will do on another post. However, as I listen to the strains of Andrea Bocelli on my stereo and smell my "Italian loaf" baking in the oven, I realize I've come to heal :-)

My husband and I spent 17 days in Venice, Florence, Vernazza and Rome to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Upon return, our 3 boys have had practically nothing for dinner except varying pastas, breads, olives, cheeses, salames, (proscuitto is $12/lb here, so forget that!), pears & cheese & honey, Nutella! and had to listen to Italian music over and over and over. Yes, our wallpaper and screensaves are all photos and with our relatives, we're "up" to Rome on the pictures. Just reading all of your thoughts and suggestions for Italy addiction "withdrawal" is soothing, like old friends-ha! Guess we all need to "debrief" to some degree. I'd even emailed my B&B host in Rome, along with some pics, to thank them again and the highlight of my day was getting a return note from "Roma."

I think the tough part for many of us is realizing this was the trip of a lifetime and returning may never happen - kids, college, cars, economy,and yes, airline tickets! How amazing some of you that have returned, are returning and have actually moved! Way to go! I would love to return now, "knowing" my way around certain areas. Yes, "vicarious" living helps to numb the brain some, as well as Italian wine, lemoncello and Birella. I suppose it's so true....better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved....or been to Italy....at all!! We are, VERY thankful for our trip!

Posted by
15 posts

I told my husband that I fell in love with Italy the way you fall in love with a person...and I long for it. Just being there made me smile and radiate happiness inside.

Glad to know I'm not alone!

Posted by
14 posts

We went on our first trip to Italy in August and I can't wait to return. It has influenced me in wonderful ways. The food was simple and enjoyed at a relaxed pace. I'm living life in the US rat race but am now taking the time to enjoy the little things much more. I'm also hoping to return soon.

Posted by
999 posts

Enjoyed reading this thread! I also suffer from Italy withdrawal after returning from a trip and it does last a long time!

We got a digital picture frame and have it running continuously with photos from Italy and the many other places we have visited and loved! Brings many a smile! Here's to La Dolce Vita!!

Posted by
100 posts

Linda~ thanks for the encouragement and the push to keep dreaming. That's wonderful about the trip you and your husband did 25 yrs. after your first experience and then 8 yrs. later. I told my sons about that and said I could plan a great trip for them!

Posted by
100 posts

Shari - I had to laugh so much at your trip to the supermarket for everything Italian after 3 days back! It's been close to 4 weeks now and I'm still doing that-ha! Maybe I just never realized how good all that was - or needed the right atmosphere perhaps.

Donna-we were probably there at the same time - Sept.25 through October 11th. Wasn't the weather amazing? Never felt a single raindrop - especially appreciated in the CT and by Rome, it was wonderfully warm.

BTW - if anybody is an Andrea Bocelli fan, I just heard he's got a new cd that was released today.

Posted by
15 posts

Yes Louise - we were there about the same time and except for one day of pouring rain in Rome (we pretty much had the colliseum to ourselves!!) the weather was gorgeous. We were in the northern lakes area and near Asti toward the end of our trip and it felt like early fall, absolutely wonderful.

Posted by
78 posts

Donna,
Ireturned from a month in Italy 4 days ago and luckily do not have to go back to work for another 10 days. My brain is constantly processing the amazing mental images and experiences gathered in beautiful places. I was constantly amazed at the individuality of every city and region. Once jetlag ceased all I have done is organise my photoes and sit watching the slideshow on the TV. I have already checked to see if prosecco is available in Australia and have already cooked spaghetti Carbonara and checked the herb garden to see if my basil has grown enough to make pesto. - yes, to prosecco and not quite for basil.

" Oh, the places you'll go!
.....
You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!"
Dr Seuss.

Viva Italia! Ciao

Posted by
30 posts

I returned from Italy in July and I'm still missing it. My boyfriend and I already started an Italy saving account. It will take us two years to get there but we will definitely return.

I found that taking the time to cook and enjoy meals, with wine of course has helped. We have also been buying Italian wines and sharing long meals with friends. Just a little consolation.

Posted by
1085 posts

I agree with all the suggestions posted. Since my return from Italy last May, I've used Limoncella, Pro Secco, Chianti and old Rick Steves DVD's of Italy to help my withdrawal symptoms. However, the biggest help was immediately signing up for 7 Days in Rome at Christmas-only 6 1/2 weeks away-not that I'm counting the days! And, I've already scheduled and started planning for a Sicily tour for next September. So, I guess you would say Rick Steves helps with my 'Italy withdrawal' symptoms the most.

Posted by
87 posts

Ciao Donna,

After visiting Italy for the first time in '07 then returning again in '08. We have to catch our breath, but in the meantime, we are saving for another trip in 2010 or with the value of the $, perhaps '09??
Specifically what has helped us retain the Italian mood is getting the RAI channel. Its our around the clock connection with Italy. We actually find the shows much more entertaining than our current cable fare. As an bonus, we are learning Italian by televison emersion.
Another way to stay connected is to make friends when in Italy, and stay in contact via emails. We have friends in Milano and Modena. On our last trip, it was great hanging out with my Milanese friend Mimmo.
As stated previously eating and drinking the Italian culture help.

Cordially Saluti,
David

Posted by
30971 posts

David,

I've also found that having at least one Italian TV channel is a wonderful way to stay connected to the country and the language, and some of the shows are more entertaining than some of the usual fare here. The channel offered in this area has some Spanish and some Italian programming, but the Italian is emphasized, and covers more of the "prime time" hours. One of the most interesting and useful programs for me are the news broadcasts on TG 24. Learning the language by "television immersion" is not as good as having a teacher, but it sure helps!

I also try to get some practise by visiting local Italian restaurants (those that are actually operated by Italians).

And now, time to get back to planning the next trip!

Cheers!

Posted by
103 posts

Buon Giorno - oh, what a great post! I haven't been here in a while since we returned from our Italy trip in June. My husband and I think about our trip every single day. What a relief to learn that we are not alone. There should be a syndrome named for us -

We, too, cook Italian, look at our photos, listen to a CD that we purchased from a street musician who was playing guitar near the Uffizi, drink cappucino's, dream of our trip in 2010, check in with Rick Steves website, recite a few phrases in Italian. We have even fantasized about moving to Italy - dare to dream!!

Ciao