It's been on the "boy it'd be really great to do" list for some time, but next month we're actually going to do it. Brenda & I are going to Italy (pronounced--if you are an Italian living in New York--"IT-lee").

Here's how this works: some airline advertises a screwball low fare to Rome, it gets you thinking, and then when you finally decide to book the fare it's nowhere to be found, but at this point you're so committed to going, you book another fare, at double the price. Bait and switch has worked, and you know what? I don't mind at all. (Actually, the airfare we got is still pretty reasonable, cheaper than many domestic flights, in fact.)

So next month we're departing from Newark, bound for Milan. Once in Italy, the current plan is to hit Venice, Florence, Siena and Rome, and fly home from Rome. And we'll do all this in a week.

I know, we're crazy. But no, we're not. The way I look at it is, if we never get back there, I'd rather have seen a little of all of those places than to have seen all of one of them. You dig?

So far, we have a ride to and from Italy, and a place to stay in Florence. Still working on the lodging for the other cities. And our route is timed so that we avoid certain places on the bad days (i.e., Florence on a Monday, when the major attractions are closed).

The one thing we're not fitting in that I wish we could is a trip to my real roots: Grandma was from Parma, and Grandpa was from Pradovera, a small village north of Piacenza. But there's really no one left there that we can contact ahead of time, and I don't speak Italian yet so the excursions would be largely symbolic. And, since we're already cramming a lot into a week, we decided to save that one for another time.

So we're scouring the web for hotel rooms, and reading guide books. I still find myself reading the guidebooks and thinking about Italy as this place that'd be great to visit someday -- then I realize that I am going to visit it someday, someday soon. It's very exciting. And the best part is, Brenda's even more excited about this trip than I am. Last week, she had guidebooks, maps and bits of scratch paper arrayed across our dining room table, as she planned the route. She looked like Rommel planning an invasion. Which is good, because if this were all up to me, we'd get as far as Milan and then I'd spend the rest of the week trying to figure out how to buy a train ticket.

I still can't believe it, which is why I had to write it down. We're going to Italy!