Our first stop in Italy was at a wonderful property in Tuscany called Villa Catola.  We spent two weeks with our good friends, The Jaeger's and The Dunn's, touring many of the quaint towns in the region including Siena, Cortona and Serra di Rapalano.  During this time, we also had the opportunity to met up for dinner with our Montreux friends, Jack and Janet Beattie, in Radda in Chianti.

Hugh's mother Helen (who was also with us at Villa Catola) visited Paris before joining us in Tuscany.  While touring Versailles, she accidentally bumped into Hugh's best friend from Denver, Mike Smith!  As it turned out, Mike and his wife Melanie were heading to Tuscany and staying at a villa only minutes from ours.   We were able to meet up with them for dinner in Florence and Siena.   What a terrific surprise for all of us!

During our stay in Tuscany, we were also fortunate to be part of the wedding of our good friends, Sean and Kirsten (Gray) Gaddis.  The wedding was one of the most beautiful we have ever attended and we have the pictures to prove it.

After spending some time with Hugh's mom Helen and her friend Nemi in Pompei and the Amalfi Coast, we drove to  Matera.   Matera is of the coolest towns in Italy in our opinion.  After leaving Matera, we drove to Rome to pick up Chris' mom Cathy and brother Steve at the airport.

After spending nearly five months on the road with very little contact with anyone, it was wonderful to have a reunion with so many friends and family in such a special part of the world.  To see how special Italy is, check out some of our pictures of the trip:

Amalfi Coast
Gaddis Wedding


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           copyright chris & hugh hempel 2004                                                      last modified on Monday, 12. January 2004