Back in 2008 I embarked upon my 4th trip to il Bel Paese, Italy. This time, unlike the others, I decided to spend 2 weeks on a self-driving tour through Tuscany and Umbria, determined to find the famous rolling hills and cypress trees. On this occasion I chose to travel on the shoulder of the northern winter/spring, as opposed to my usual autumn meanderings. What a difference it made. The chill in the air was coupled with birdsong in the air as well as an abundance of flowers. On one particular night whilst staying in the beautiful Montepulciano I ventured into the old town for dinner. Halfway during my meal I could see huge snowflakes flying past the restaurant window. Even the locals were excited. Having spent all my life in Australasia, this was my first ever snowfall. I had been skiing in the Australian and New Zealand ski fields but had never seen it snow until then. After dinner I made the soon-to-be-regretted choice of actually driving into the old town to take some pictures. The snow fell harder but I was in heaven. Locals walking home in the snow afforded smiles to the ‘straniero’ taking pictures in the snow. Alas when it came time to return to my agriturismo room, I also discovered the perils of driving in the snow. Having skidded around for a metre or so I decided to abandon the car and call a cab. A silly moment no doubt, but being in falling snow for the first time more than made up for it.