The first time I saw fireflies (Northern Italy)

I’m back in Portland now. I started a new job and generally “getting on with my life” after a year of living abroad but I’m not quite ready to put the whole thing on a shelf and call it a day. Thus far, I’ve only written about my travels through June but it wasn’t until late summer that things really got good.

We decided to spend the summer wandering around on a budget and Workaway made this very doable. Our first stop was Feltre, a town in northern Italy, not far from Venice. Our home for the next ten days was a B&B on a hillside overlooking the Dolomite Mountains that had been a retreat for Venetian nobility back in the day.


I was nervous about staying with strangers (I’ve never been one to couchsurf or meet up) and I was even more nervous about being stranded and bored but both of those concerns faded quickly. In the mornings, we woke up to coffee and toast with gorgeous views, spending the day tidying, ironing and gardening. My to-do list included activities like playing with the kids and planting potatoes.  At lunch we were presented with a delicious spread of homemade food and wine taken on the patio followed by a few more hours of work. Each evening, we’d sit down for another beautiful meal before washing dishes and turning in for the night. On our days off, we weren’t even itching  to leave or even to visit nearby Venice (more on that soon). We were already in heaven.


When we did make it down the hill, we ventured into Feltre, a sleepy town with a history that’s still very much alive. Like being in a museum, the town’s buildings are covered in frescoes, some in well enough condition you can begin to imagine what the city would have looked like in the 16th century.


It might not seem like a big deal to most people but unlike (apparently) almost everywhere else, we don’t have fireflies in the western United States. One night, taking down laundry as the sun set, I saw my first one. Instantly six years old, I debated following these fairies into the forest and demanding they introduce me to their fairy queen. Even now, I’m convinced fireflies are some sort of magic.

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Dear summer, I miss you.


10 thoughts on “The first time I saw fireflies (Northern Italy)

  1. Welcome back to the states. Me included. Hope Portland is treating you well. I can relate. I’m focused on the job search and being home but I think about life abroad every day… I may be headed to Portland on a roadtrip Sunday- thursday, if you’re around, let’s meet up?!

  2. Hi, new reader here!
    You take BEAUTIFUL pictures. Besides your obvious talent, what camera do you use? Thanks!

    1. Glad you like them! I use a Fuji x10. I’ve been totally in love with this camera but recently it broke :-( I don’t know if they are prone to breaking. I only got two years out if it.

  3. It’s such a shame they are so hard to photograph! I first saw them in Mexico and yeah my mind said ‘WOAH!’ We have them here in Britain apparently but I’ve never seen them. I guess they have a very specific habitat. And that doesn’t include a sprawling metropolis. *sad face*

    1. You know, I never even tried to photograph them because I was so in awe, haha! Now that I’ve seen them I’ll definitely try to spot them more when I travel.

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