Sitting in the sun at my favorite cafe dreaming of Italy and flicking through a magazine I had to laugh at myself.

A fashion shoot of a beautiful pale girl in an abandoned building and I was thinking that it wouldn’t take much to get that wallpaper off, and how beautiful the floorboards would be stripped back and re polished. I could vividly describe to you the pattern of the wallpaper, high ceilings and elegant stairway yet couldn’t tell you a single thing the girl was wearing.

I come from a family of women who carry tape measures in their handbags. Notebooks filled with little sketches of furniture and measurements.

Who navigate by what the house looks like on the relevant corner…the one with the picture windows, the one with the gorgeous picket fence. The women in my family know exactly the house I am talking about, and usually tell me to take the next left and have a look at the house with the sunflowers peeking over the fence.

I have a passion that must be genetic, I can’t walk down the street without mentally revamping each house I pass. Heaven help you if you get my Mum along, she is often tempted to put a little note in the letter box saying how well a change of color would set off the garden. That’s her painting at our first home, see it runs in the family.

It is the women in my family who are the renovators, the ones with vision and an eye for detail. The ones who feel the life of a house, draw it forth once more.

I knew as soon as my hand lingered over worn rock, felt the heart captured in timeless ancient buildings that I belonged to Italy.

Ever since I was a child swinging in the park with my best friend Carolyn I have wanted to venture forth. I was the first of our family to travel abroad and suddenly the whole world opened up. I traveled though Europe, England, America and parts of Asia, yet it was always Italy that filled my heart.

The art, the history, the people and of course the architecture picked me up, whirled me around and gave me passionate kisses on each cheek.

It felt as if I had come home, as if I had never left.

My heart now belongs not only to Italy but to an Italian man, he is my soul. Our children speak with their hands, and live straight from the heart. Even I am often surprised by their beauty, the very Italianess of them. Italy gave me a gift, one I treasure and one I share with you. Now I love to write about Italy.

Yes I write about Italy. She is my passion, and I long to be in her company once more.