What can I say about Fred and Rachel Whitman?  Well…they are the best!  Fred picked us up at the Hilton in Rome and drove us in his van to Perugia/San Sisto with a stop on the way at Assisi.  Help!  He can outrun, outwalk, outclimb all of us.  Photos to follow.  The day was beautiful and we arrived at their home tired, but enjoying every moment.  Rachel made us a lovely Italian meal, followed by a trip to the gelato favorite in the area.  The next day was spent with them at their church in San Sisto.  Rachel fed all of her children and grandchildren plus all of us.  She cooks like an Italian.  Delicious.  The evening was spent at a lovely pizzeria in the area where we dined with the lovely ladies from the church.  It was an evening to remember.  Monday, Fred and Rachel drove us back to Rome right to the doorstep of the Grand de la Minerve hotel in the city center next to the Panteon.  He was able to get permission from the hotel to enter the city thanks to my friend, Mario, who had called ahead to make the way clear.

I will add photos in the next post when I finish uploading them into my computer.

Perugia is an estructan city, walled, and one of the most beautiful cities in Italy.  The views from the top are spectacular.

Thank you to Fred and Rachel for opening your home and treating us to three special days.  My friend and I stayed at a local hotel, The Centova…located in Perugia.  Breakfast is included and amazing with freshly served cornetto con crema.  Warm from the oven.



First, I want to thank my fabulous travel agent for getting me and my travel companions such good air fares and hotel fares.  Terri Goodreau of Avoya Travel is the best!

We flew on a direct flight from Los Angeles to Rome…11 hours in the air and no change of planes…on Alitalia.  Things got a bit scary when we discovered the airline is pretty much bankrupt and is up for sale.  However, we flew without incident on a beautiful plane.  I was fortunate enough to fly business class.  The seats and privacy were amazing.  Although every amenity possible was available to entertain me, I always find it best to listen to soothing music and not watch movies.  Movies keep me awake, and I didn’t want to waste precious hours of sleep provided my “lie flat” bed.

We received perfume and lotions from Bulgari…a special treat, and the food was delicious.  And they even served real cappuccino…a first for me on any airline.

Our luggage was handled nicely, we were treated with respect, and the flight wonderful.  A word of caution, however.  Due to stricter regulations coming into the United States, in the Rome airport, there was an extra layer of protection, a LONG walk, and the necessary showing of your passport and airline ticket an extra two times.

Then, upon arrival in LA, the lines were long.  Automated check in is available (putting a lot of people out of work) but then everything slowed down because only two agents were checking passports.  Of the two airports….Rome was by far the most entertaining.  But beware, if you are going for a VAT reimbursement…have the items you bought and all receipts.  It takes a lot of time.

We arrived in Rome, walked to the Hilton Airport Hotel, checked in, rested, and took their free shuttle into Rome City Center to meet my friends, Mario, Annalisa, and Lucia.  The evening was lovely, it was great to see long-time friends, and our dinner at da Sabatino in the vicinity of the Pantheon did not disappoint.  Quinto, my favorite waiter, is still working there and brought us an amazing display of antipasti.  We returned to our hotel tired, but happy.

Stay tuned for the next adventure.

Searching…Fratarcangeli Family

Throughout my journey to find the family and historical records of my grandfather, frustration has been my go-to-feeling.  Therefore, in October I will be visiting Ripi, Italy and surrounding towns to find his birth certificate and hopefully some descendants of Rosa Sordilli and Gianni Fratarcangeli in the small town where my grandfather was raised by this wonderful family.

Anyone from RIPI, ITALY?  Contact me!