There's a really lovely piece written by my wife about our first trip together to Italy while researching THE MASTER OF VERONA. It's put up by my good friend, the amazingly talented author C.W. Gortner at his blog Historical Boys. If you're not a regular visitor there, start now. And if you're not a reader of Christopher's, put down what you're reading now (even if it's mine) and pick up his books. Now.
But read Jan's piece first.