To me, there is nothing better than a good "home-cooked" Italian meal. Keeping this in mind, what could be better than eating such a meal in Italy cooked by relatives that you have never seen before in the medieval village of your ancestors. .

Two summers ago, I attended just such an event, alone! .

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a hot, muggy Mediterranean day. I was sitting on the steps of Santa Croce Square in Florence waiting for my rented driver to arrive. After becoming one with the pavement, my eyes beheld a dark blue Alfa Romeo pull up in front of me. .

Upon seeing this, I thought to myself, "This is definitely going to be an experience that I will NEVER forget!" After trying to explain where I wanted to go, we were finally on our way to Monticatini where I was to meet some of my relatives for the first time. To get there, we traveled a steady rate of 85 to 110 mph-and I loved it! After aimlessly looking for the street I hoped was called Via Dolce, we found the house. Standing there was a man I had never seen before, yet I knew he was related. His name was Carmine and he spoke no English. Despite this little difficulty, he was to serve as my tour guide for the rest of the day. .

As I walked into the house, I can remember what a strange feeling it was to look on the outside wall and see "Giordano" so far away from MY home. I swear that I had to check the spelling of the name a thousand times before I was really convinced it was the same. Upon entering the house, I was greeted by some of the others that lived there with a traditional Italian style greeting. Among them was Marco, ironically an Italian banker, who was now to take over the driving duties to our final destination-Pontito. .

It was now down to the four of us: Gio, Graziella, Sabina (a friend to help translate,) and myself who set off by car to the medieval village of my ancestors-Pontito. As we wound up the 8,000 ft of hairpin curved roads into the mountains, I finally caught sight of the village.