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Introduction

Maybe you heard that the Coliseum is a mess of scaffolding, that the lines at the Uffizi are too long, that visitors never know where to get that real Italian food that makes you kiss your fingertips.

Don't worry. Great memories of Italy are often the ones that came about by accident.

That wrong turn down a Roman alley to the old, crumbling church. The walk in Florence down the banks of the Arno, past young painters with secondhand easels. The simple picnic of fresh cheese and bread on an alpine hike.

We've traveled in Italy, lived there, studied there. We've written about language learning, wine tasting, and gelato making. Some of us still never made it to the Coliseum.

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